Captain Leads Bath to victory

Bath skipper, Alex Crockett, landed two tries in the opening game at The Rec last night, sending Edinburgh back home after a thrilling 41 - 10 defeat.
As a muggy day drew to a close, an energetic Bath side stormed onto the pitch, fresh from their win against Llanelli the previous week.

The first half of the game forced Edinburgh quickly into submission, as the bulk of play saw the home team with the majority share of possession. With the first line out won by Bath, this set the precedent for the game, with only one being lost to the opposition. The line out gave new scrum half Michael Claassens the chance to demonstrate some quick thinking and ball-handling for which he is already well known, and Nick Abendanon took it to within feet of the visitor's try line. A line out ensued, and although Bath made some effort to cross over, Edinburgh managed to clear.

Nick Abendanon appeared a constant threat to Edinburgh and having made such vast improvements since the beginning of last season, every time he was in possession of the ball, he was a danger to the Gunners and rapidly became a marked man.

Edinburgh enjoyed a glimmer of hope though, as their number 9, Ben Meyer, broke free, booming towards the home 22. But, after a loose chip, the ball was lost and fell straight back into Bath's eager hands.

Abendanon was quick to make the most of this error and with a smooth transition from Jonny Faamatuainu to Matt Banahan, a try was celebrated in 31st min, and effortlessly converted by Shaun Berne.

Minutes before the halftime whistle, Martin Purdy came on to replace Peter Short, followed by Ian Davey and Jack Cuthbert. With Michael Claassens ready to accept the ball won at the line out by Bath, the remaining minutes were played inside Edinburgh's 22. It looked as though a further try was about to be made, and although it was intercepted by Edinburgh a number of times, Bath skipper, Alex Crockett, was quick to see the gap in defence down the middle and powered forward. With a flowing pass to Zak Feaunati, the number 8 grounded the ball between the posts for Bath's second try. Berne made a further morale boosting conversion. At half time, Bath were leading with 17 points to nil.

The second half was more fast and furious than the first and although Edinburgh replaced their back row, and benefited from their one and only line out win over Bath, within minutes, Bath had the ball back in the opposition's territory. David Barnes took the initiative and stormed over the line for a further try. Bath's Number 12, saw to it that the visitors were kept in check and converted again with ease.

Edinburgh's John Houston attempted to offer his team a glimmer of hope, as he broke free from the Bath defence and motored over the try line. Unfortunately for them, the kick was too wide to allow them a conversion.

Abendanon made his presence felt once more with a fastball to Crockett in the top corner of the visitor's 22, giving the skipper another chance to make an explosive run to earn Bath five further points. The final whistle blew on a riveting 41 - 10 victory to Bath.

Head Coach Steve Meehan was understandably pleased with the Bath effort, although he acknowledged that work still needed to be done ahead of the first Premiership game against Worcester. "The score 41 - 10 is a good one," he said, "and the primary objective is always to win the game, so we are happy with that. At the same time, we were upset that we were a little bit loose tonight and we need to tighten that up before we move into Leinster and Worcester which will be the test for us at the start of the season."

Bath Rugby: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Alex Crockett (capt), 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Ian Davey (Jack Cuthbert 36mins), 10 Ryan Davis (Tom Cheeseman 56mins), 9 Michael Claassens (Nick Walshe 50mins), 1 David Barnes (Aaron Jarvis 61mins, Paulica Ion 68mins), 2 Pieter Dixon (Rob Hawkins 46mins), 3 Aaron Jarvis (Laurence Ovens 41mins), 4 Peter Short (Martin Purdy 34mins), 5 Jonny Faamatuainu, 6 Andy Beattie (Peter Short 67mins), 7 Chris Goodman, 8 Zak Feaunati (James Scaysbrook 57mins)

Edinburgh Rugby: 15 James Thompson, 14 Andrew Turnball, 13 Ben Cairns (Matt Dey 41mins), 12 Nick de Luca (Phil Godman 41mins), 11 Andrew Maxwell (John Houston 47mins), 10 Alistair Warnock (David Blair 67mins), 9 Ben Meyer (Greig Laidlaw 41mins), 1 Augusto Allori (Bruce McNeil 41mins), 2 Steve Lawrie (Andrew Kelly 41mins), 3 Geoff Cross (Kyle Traynor 63mins), 4 Matt Mustchin (Fergus Pringle 44mins), 5 Ben Gissing (Alan Kelly 61mins), 6 Simon Cross (capt, Scott Newlands 50mins), 7 Alan McDonald (Ross Rennie 41mins), 8 Roland Reid

Bath Scorers: Matt Banahan, Zak Feaunati, Alex Crockett, David Barnes

Edinburgh Scorers: Andrew Turnbull

Referee: Andrew Small (RFU)

Attendance: 3,500

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