At times, Bath Rugby produced some breathtaking rugby on Saturday to secure a 37-19 home victory over Worcester Warriors at The Rec and claim a four try bonus point on the way.
Worcester started the stronger of the two sides, attacking the Bath line in the opening 10 minutes. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty in the third minute that was converted by fly-half Loki Crichton.
Bath kept the faith with under fire kicker Butch James and he got Bath back in the game in the 13th minute with a successful kick at goal to level the scores. Minutes later Bath took the lead. A Joe Maddock break made plenty of ground for the home side and quick recycled ball saw the ball wing its way to the other side of the pitch where fullback Nick Abendanon was on hand to scythe through the Worcester defence to score. James converted and it was 10-3 to Bath.
Having only just got their breath back, Worcester were immediately put under pressure from the restart. With ball won at the breakdown, quick distribution by scrum-half Claassens saw the ball move right and in a similar try to Abendanon's, Maddock broke through the Warriors defence to score. James made it three kicks out of three, to make it 17-3.
With Worcester again enjoying some decent time with the ball, a penalty was awarded to the visitors after a high tackle on a Worcester player by Jack Cuthbert. Crichton hit the penalty and it was 17-6.
Worcester found themselves a man down in the 31st minute after Dale Rasmussen was shown a yellow card. Despite the one man advantage, Bath were only able to add three more points to the scoreboard with another James penalty and this was wipped out just before the break when Warriors winger Chris Pennell hitting a successful long range penalty. The blue, black and whites went into the break 20-9 up.
With Worcester back to full strength, they quickly closed the gap with a Crichton penalty in the 43rd minute after Bath were penalised for coming in at the side.
The game then went into a period of stalemate as both sides looked to find an attacking platform by placing kicks behind the defences - with Chris Latham looking particularly dangerous for the visitors. It was Bath who then broke the deadlock with a try. A break by James, who then offloaded to Shaun Berne, was carried on by Michael Lipman. The flanker then cut one way and then the other before offloading to prop cum winger Duncan Bell who showed a remarkable set of heels to the Worcester defence before diving over in the corner. James missed the conversion. 25-12.
The Warriors did not put their heads down though and immediately went on the offensive as they looked to get back in the game. A try was the least they deserved for their constant pressure on the Bath defence and after a break by number eight Nentani Talei, Chris Pennell obliged by running 30 odd metres to score underneath the posts. Crichton's conversion made it 25-19.
Unfortunately for the visitors, with a possible win on the horizon and time against them, they tried to attack Bath from deep in their own half. Prop Taumoepeau threw a pass straight into the hands of Bath captain Michael Lipman who made the most of the opportunity presented to him and scored. Berne was unable to convert.
Bath then claimed the four-try bonus point with a Berne try in the 79th minute. James completed the scoring with a successful conversion from a difficult angle.
Bath: 15 Abendanon, 14 Maddock, 13 Crockett (Fuimaono 73), 12 Berne, 11 Cuthbert (Stephenson 75), 10 James, 9 Claassens (Bemand 75); 1 Flatman (Barnes 40), 2 Mears (Dixon 58), 3 Stevens (Bell 57), 4 Harrison, 5 Short, 6 Hooper, 7 Lipman (c), 8 Faamatuainu (Scaysbrook 73).