Bath Rugby came out emphatically on top in the West Country derby with Gloucester at Kingsholm this evening, emerging 16-39 victors.
Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw opened the evening’s scoring with a penalty in front of the posts after a ruck infringement by Bath. 3-0.
Bath were straight back in the game after seven minutes, when Gloucester were penalized for holding onto the ball on the floor. Ford nervelessly struck the penalty through the posts to draw the score level. 3-3.
Laidlaw struck back to make it 6-3 back soon after, following a scrum penalty to the home side. Not to be outdone, Ford was given the same chance to equalise – this one from considerably further out – when Gloucester entered the ruck illegally, and did so with aplomb. 6-6.
Ford was equally adept with his third penalty attempt of the evening – this one slightly closer than the previous one – after Gloucester collapsed the scrum, which gave Bath the lead for the first time in the opening half. 6-9.
In a mirror image sequence to Bath’s previous kick, Ford was presented with a second consecutive penalty from the exact same spot – again thanks to a collapsed scrum by the home team. The fly-half neatly drilled the ball over to extend Bath’s lead. 6-12.
Three minutes from time, Laidlaw kicked a long penalty to narrow the gap between the sides to three points. 9-12. Bath then made perhaps their most effective attacking phases of the first 40, taking them all the way to the Gloucester line, where the home side failed to roll away at the ruck. Ford’s fantastic penalty kick saw to it that Bath ended the half in good fashion.
Half time: Gloucester Rugby 9-15 Bath Rugby
Ford started the second half as he’d finished the first, with a successful penalty kick in front of the posts. 9-18.
Less than an hour had gone when Gloucester had a prop sin-binned. Ford kicked to the corner and immediately Bath’s maul was on the march, until the referee had no choice but to award a penalty try. Ford made his easiest kick of the night in front of the posts to give Bath a very impressive 9-25 lead.
Replacement centre Ollie Devoto then provided a moment of magic for the visitors, a show-and-go which put fellow replacement Matt Garvey in position to pounce over the line from close quarters. The try converted by Ford, Bath held an incredible 9-32 lead with 10 minutes to go.
Gloucester found some comfort when, mere moments later, replacement back Dan Robson dashed up the left wing with a display of great pace and scored his side’s first and only try of the match. Fly-half James Hook made one of the kicks of the night with his touchline conversion. 16-32.
The icing on the cake for Bath came in the final minute of play when, awarded a penalty on the home 5m, Ford tapped and went, shipping the ball to Louw. The Man of the Match went close, but it was Garvey who was to score a second try of the evening. Ford converted to send Bath supporters home in an appropriately festive mood.
Final Score: Gloucester Rugby 16 – 39 Bath Rugby