MATCH SUMMARY – gloucester 24-33 BATH RUGBY
Bath Rugby turned a 17-0 deficit into a 33-24 win over their fiercest rivals Gloucester in front of a jeering Cherry & White crowd.
Momentum swung for Bath after being awarded a penalty try for a high tackle and Miles Reid then brought the score to within three on the half-time whistle.
Scoring three more in the second half and racking the points up on the scoreboard, Bath's might and determination prevailed as the visitors scored three further tries through Joe Cokanasiga, Reid and Sam Underhill to take away the bragging rights and firmly shut up The Shed.
In a largely unchanged starting 15, Johann van Graan stuck with the forwards pack who triumphed over Exeter Chiefs, making two changes in the backline seeing Max Ojomoh in at 12 and Tom de Glanville start at full-back.
Ruaridh McConnochie was named as a late change on the bench in place of Josh Bayliss.
Gloucester's contingent saw a blend of youth and experience, with Lewis Ludlow captaining the side from the openside.
Bath Rugby: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer ©; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McNally, 5 GJ van Velze, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Miles Reid
Impact players: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Valeriy Morozov, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Fergus Lee-Warner, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Ruaridh McConnochie
Gloucester Rugby: 15 Santi Carreras, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Steven Varney; 1 Mayco Vivas, 2 Seb Blake, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Freddie Clarke, 5 Matias Alemanno, 6 Jack Clement, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 8 Ben Morgan
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Freddie Thomas, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 George Barton, 23 Jonny May
In front of a very noisy shed, the clouds parted and the rain held off as Orlando Bailey got things underway for the Blue, Black and White.
Showing a good contest in the first five minutes, Will Stuart was unlucky to find himself caught in the tackle and gave Gloucester their first attacking opportunity just inside the Bath half.
Using the ground they had made, and roared on by the home crowd, the ball was passed through the hands of the backline and found Stephen Varney in space for him to clinch the first score of the game for Santiago Carreras to convert.
Giving away another penalty within Carreras’s range, the full-back notched three more onto the scoreboard.
Breaking through the Gloucester line, Ollie Lawrence was able to earn Bath their own penalty after the hosts were caught not releasing but after driving from the back of the maul, Tom Dunn spilt the ball over the line to hand possession back to Gloucester.
With Gloucester on the front foot and threatening in Bath’s 22, the pack showed their scrummaging ability by winning a penalty just short of their own five-metre line for Matt Gallagher to clear the lines.
The speed of the Gloucester backs couldn’t be matched in their next attack with Carreras finding himself unmanned on the wing to score the host’s second. Converting his own score, he took the scoreboard to 17-0.
It took Bath 30 minutes to put their own points on the board as Max Ojomoh was dealt a high tackle on the line by Ludlow. With the Gloucester captain sent to the bin, the ref awarded Bath a penalty try, putting the visitors back in the game.
Seeing out the half and bringing Bath right back in contention after pitching themselves on the Gloucester try-line, Reid found the whitewash by burrowing over sending the team into the changing room just three points behind.
Getting off the mark in the opening five of the second half, Gloucester worked the ball coast to coast for Carreras to swing the ball back in from the touchline for Seb Atkinson to touch down for Carreras to add the extra two.
Conceding ground, Bath looked to be on the defensive until Tom de Glanville snatched an intercept to run down the flank past the shed.
Triumphantly winning a scrum penalty advantage, Ben Spencer spotted space in behind with a lovely kick which caused chaos in the home ranks. The scrum-half collected and when he was hauled down just shy of the whitewash, Cokanasiga picked up to crash over for Bath’s third.
With momentum fully in the visitor’s favour, Bath pitched themselves firmly down in the Gloucester 22, winning consecutive penalties. Making an impact as soon as he entered the field, Underhill became a key cog in the final quarter of Bath’s game, initiating a fourth score by Reid. The England man broke away from a maul and presented for Bath's Number 8 to barge over for his second.
Sitting two points ahead of their age-old rivals, Bath turned the screw and dealt the Cherry & Whites a final blow through Underhill. The replacement was excellent in picking and muscling his way to the line despite a heap of pressure.
Coming from a 17 points to nil deficit, Bath were undeterred by The Shed whose booing cries rang around Kingsholm.
Carreras missed two penalties late on as Gloucester tried to close the gap but it was the Blue, Black and White who diminished some demons of 2022 and took away all five points in special fashion.
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