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Bath denied victory at the last

This was a result that you viewed with your glass either half-full or half-empty.

With playing resources stretched all too thinly in places, avoiding defeat was another important step in building confidence. But again the win eluded Bath Rugby as Willie Walker pulled Worcester level for the third time in the game, with just four minutes left on the clock.

Head coach Steve Meehan, although disappointed that his players could not quite hang on to the lead, reflected: "It appeared to me that we spent a hell of a lot of time in our own half and defended quite well. It's disappointing that we were in a position to win the game and didn't."

There were genuine plus points, four well-struck penalties from Ryan Davis who was also courageous in defence and another mature display from young centre Ben Williams.

"Ben does the basics well," said Meehan. "At the moment there are not a lot of thrills to his game but he consistently delivers the basics to a high standard. He's really developing well and we're really happy with him."

Williams retired just before the hour with a 'stinger' injury to his shoulder and may not have too many more opportunities for a while if Olly Barkley makes his expected comeback against London Irish at the Rec next week.

No sooner had the match kicked off than Jack Cuthbert missed a long range penalty after Miles Benjamin was caught in possession. Bath kept up the pressure through a multi-phase attack before Luke Watson's grubber kick behind the defence was cleared by Benjamin.

When Bath attacked off a line-out it seemed for a moment that they had breached the defensive line but the ball was coughed up in the tackle and Chris Latham launched a counter attack, only for Willie Walker to kick the ball into touch.

But Bath lost the line-out on their own 22 and when they also conceded a penalty from the following scrum, Walker kicked the goal to put the first points on the board with 10 minutes on the clock.

Failure to hang on to the ball put an end to another promising attack from Michael Claassens' men and Ryan Davis chased back to beat Marcel Garvey to a dangerous bouncing ball. But it was not only Bath who were guilty of handling errors as the game proceeded in stop-start fashion.

On the quarter hour, when a ball ricocheted loose to Benjamin, Carraro hared back to drag him down. Worcester then hammered away at the Bath line from a succession of scrums and line-outs and Aaron Jarvis breathed a sigh of relief when Walker hit the post with a 21st minute penalty, awarded against the Bath tighthead. Almost immediately, Walker tried a dropped goal but that was well wide of the mark and when Bath battled their way upfield, winning a line-out through Danny Grewcock, Worcester conceded a penalty in front of the posts. Davis, looking more authoritative than at any time this season, kicked the points.

Bath should have been in front just moments later when Davis floated a pass out to Grewcock but the second row somehow lost the ball over the line. Davis, pulling the strings most effectively, then lofted a kick to the left wing where Latham managed to deny Cuthbert, but at the cost of a 5-metre scrum. Watson drove for the line, Worcester conceded the penalty and Davis made it 6-3 after 32 minutes.

The last scoring attempt of the half fell to Walker but the 50-metre chance was just out of his range.
The second half began with a searing counter-attack by Nick Abendanon who unloaded to Carraro but his progress was halted by a high tackle. Davis's kick was wide from a very narrow angle.

After some impressive runs from the fullback with ball in hand, Abendanon's teammates' had their hearts in their mouths as Sam Tuitupou charged down a clearance kick off the Bath man's less favoured right foot. The defence held out, just, but Julian Salvi was guilty of a late tackle and Walker found the target from 40 metres to bring his side level on 48 minutes.

Davis's ploy of testing Garvey with a succession of teasing kicks worked like a treat when the right wing fumbled and Bath forced a penalty at the resulting scrum. Davis's kick was perfectly directed and he was just as decisive at the other end, diving on a dangerous volley through by Latham to save a likely try.

The two kickers swapped penalties on the hour to leave Bath ahead 12-9 and Tuitupou was sent to the sin-bin on 66 minutes for an illegal tackle on replacement Michael Stephenson as he hared across to mark a chip kick by Walker.

With Bath's midfield defence rock solid throughout, Walker's boot was the only weapon left in the Worcester armoury. But it was enough to earn the draw as a clearly pained Salvi conceded the 76th minute penalty that allowed the home fly-half to claim the draw.

Bath gave Worcester a sniff of a win when Abendanon cleared the ball to touch having received the ball from outside the 22 but Worcester surrendered possession just as quickly and Bath claimed held on to the ball to claim their second draw of the season.

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