A game of mixed emotions sees Bath Rugby pick up a try bonus point as Harlequins secure a 44-33 victory with the return of crowds at The Stoop.
The first half saw six tries in total, with four to the hosts and two to the visitors. Jack Kenningham, and Danny Care were the first to capitalise for Quins with Josh McNally and Will Muir following suit, securing scores for the Blue, Black, and White. Joe Marchant and Luke Northmore then added further to see the Twickenham-based outfit ahead 32-18 at the break.
The second half saw Bath edge ahead, following Will Muir and Josh Bayliss going over; however, a combination of Stephan Lewies and Martin Landajo secured Quins their place in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs.
From the off, Bath set their intentions by winning a scrum in minute one, Ben Spencer made a dart from the halfway into Quins 22, but the Blue, Black, and White knocked the ball on shortly after, and the hosts cleared their lines. Rhys Priestland gathered the ball in before Bath were penalised again for going off their feet at the breakdown. Harlequins kicked to touch and won the line to set up a strong maul going forward before Bath legally stopped the maul as the ball was turned over.
Quins, however, got the hit on at the scrum and pushed Bath into touch. Quins went quickly, and after a few passes out wide, Jack Kenningham found his way over in the corner. The conversion went wide as Quins took the lead. [5-0]
Bath kept the tempo high, and a few minutes later, Will Muir crashed over in the corner. However, the play went to the TMO, who ruled the ball was held up. Bath went back for the advantage just inside Quins 22 to the left side of the sticks. Fly-half Rhys Priestland pointed to the posts with his ever-reliable boot to get his side on the scoreboard. [5-3]
On the 11th minute, Harlequins won their kick-off through Luke Northmore, and Bath were caught offside. Marcus Smith called for the tee and secured the points. [8-3]
Seven minutes later, Quins capitalised again; this time Danny Care crossed the try line following an inside pass from Nathan Earle. The conversion was good by Smith taking Quins further ahead. [15-3]
However, Bath returned the favour with 20 minutes on the clock. Harlequins won the restart but cleared the ball back to Bath. Josh McNally charged through the Quins defence and ran along the touchline to dive over in the corner. The extras went wide from Priestland as the scoreline narrowed. [15-8]
At 27 minutes, Bath secured their second try. Bath won the line out, and Max Clark passed effortlessly to a crash ball. Harlequins were penalised, and Ben Spencer reacted with speed allowing Will Muir to pick and go to crash over the line under the sticks. Priestland’s conversion was good the bringing the scoreline equal. [15-15]
Harlequins’ penalty count continued to mount as three minutes later, Ben Spencer acted with haste to get Bath on the front foot. A few phases later, Harlequins were penalised again, and Priestland called for the posts to add three, taking Bath into the lead. [15-18]
On minute 31, Bath regathered the ball, but it slipped out of grasp, and Quins kicked through to Joe Marchant, who secured another for the hosts. Referee Tom Foley went to the TMO for confirmation, which was confirmed shortly before Marcus Smith added the additional two. [22-18]
Six minutes later, Quins scored again; this time, Luke Northmore crossed the try line with Smith converting successfully. [29-18]
As the clock hit the forty-minute mark, Harlequins won their line out and started to put the phases in. The visitors' defence remained strong before Bath were penalised at the breakdown and Marcus Smith kicks from in front to secure a further three points to see the half score sit at 32-18.
Bath made their intentions clear in the second half, and on the attack, Stuart Hooper’s men looked menacing. Bath were deep inside their half in minute 42 when Ben Spencer put a decisive box-kick in, which Will Muir collected under pressure. Quick ball saw Tom de Glanville use the space, making a huge break into Quins' 22. The ball was then thrown back the other way, and Muir, who started it all off, dived into the corner. The extras went wide. [32-23]
Bath continued to notch up the scores with Priestland adding another three pointer for the Blue, Black and White following Joe Marchant being shown a yellow for killing the ball in the previous phase. [32-26]
A couple of minutes later, Bath scored a fantastic try. Joe Cokanasiga got the break, and the ball went wide through a fantastic pass from Max Ojomoh to Will Muir, who selflessly passes back inside to Josh Bayliss, who dived over. Rhys Prietland gets the extras earning Bath the lead on the 50-minute mark. [32-33]
Ten minutes later and straight from the restart, Alex Dombrandt powered through and passed back inside to Stephan Lewies, who got the try. Smith converted. [39-33]
The final moments saw Martin Landajo secure Quins' final score, with Marcus Smith kicking the ball into touch as the clock ticked 80.
Bath were outstanding in their effort at The Stoop today, with their ability to break the line and to get down edges, a high point. Ultimately the Blue, Black and White needed to control the game in order to win and those moments were lost today against a quality attacking Quins.
15. Tom de Glanville, 14. Joe Cokanasiga, 13. Max Clark, 12. Max Ojomoh, 11. Will Muir, 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Jacques du Toit, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Charlie Ewels ©, 6. Miles Reid, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: 16. Tom Doughty, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Will Spencer, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Orlando Bailey, 23. Jonathan Joseph
15. Tyrone Green, 14. Nathan Earle, 13. Luke Northmore, 12. James Lang, 11. Joe Marchant, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Danny Care; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Scott Baldwin, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Matt Symons, 5. Stephen Lewies ©, 6. Tom Lawday, 7. Jack Kenningham, 8. Alex Dombrandt
Replacements: 16. Joe Gray, 17. Santiago Garcia Botta 18. Will Collier, 19. Dino Lamb, 20. Archie White, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Ben Tapuai, 23. Aaron Morris
29 May 2021
Referee: Tom Foley
Half Time score: 32-18
- Tries: Kenningham (5), Care (16), Marchant (30), Northmore (32), Lewies (59), Landajo (77)
- Conversions: Smith (17, 30, 33, 60)
- Penalties: Smith (10, 40)
- Tries: McNally (19), Muir (25, 41), Bayliss (51)
- Conversions: Priestland (26, 52)
- Penalties: Priestland (8, 29, 49)