Bath Rugby bowed out of this year’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series this afternoon, with Exeter Chiefs and Wasps progressing to the Final at the Ricoh Arena.
Exeter started the afternoon in sensational style, going 10-0 up against Bristol inside two minutes thanks to Max Bodily and Nick Mason, before they both added second tries with Sam Skinner and Tom Hendrickson putting the gloss on a big win.
Bath’s afternoon started with a topsy-turvy encounter with Wasps. A swooping intercept from Alex Humfrey saw Bath take the lead, but Frank Halai hit straight back for Wasps. Zach Mercer put Bath back in front, with Rory Jennings adding the extras, before Tom Cruse went over on the hooter to take them back to within two points. Halai scored a second not long after the re-start, but Darren Atkins raced 50 metres to touch down and give Bath the advantage. Three quick tries from Wasps saw them steal the game though – Tom Howe, Brendan Macken and Nick De Luca all crossing in the final minutes.
The Coventry outfit survived playing back-to-back with another win in their second game, but they were made to work for it against a much-improved Bristol who led 14-5 at the break.
Josh Bassett’s double turned the game in Wasps’ favour before Conor Dolan extended the lead, but Howe was the hero as he denied Elias Caven under the posts with the final play of the game when Bristol were just six points down.
Game 4 saw Bath face the hosts, and the Chiefs were in an unforgiving mood. Half-time saw the home side lead 26-0, and whilst Humfrey did well to fend off the chasing defenders to score in the second-half, Exeter secured qualification for themselves and Wasps by taking the victory.
Bath battled Bristol next, and although Mercer and Levi Davis found the whitewash, Bristol - fresh from the break between games - had carried their strong performance against Wasps into the derby game – scoring six tries to take the bragging rights.
The final game of the day saw the top two teams go head to head to see who would take the group spoils.
The Chiefs took an early lead through Joe Simmonds, but Wasps fought back through Dolan and Rob Miller. Crucially Bodilly grabbed a try just before the hooter as the Chiefs went into half-time trailing 14-12.
Chiefs skipper Sam Simmonds came to the fore after the break as he scored a try-double - either side of Howe’s score for Wasps - to clinch the win and Group B by 26-19.
Game 1: Bristol Rugby 5 (Searle) - Exeter Chiefs 36 (Mason 2, Bodilly 2, Skinner, Hendrickson)
Game 2: Wasps 36 (Halai 2, Howe, Cruse, Macken, De Luca) - Bath Rugby 21 (Humfrey, Mercer, Atkins)
Game 3: Wasps 22 (Bassett 2, Dolan, Hampson) - Bristol Rugby 14 (Edwards, penalty)
Game 4: Exeter Chiefs 33 (Simmonds 2, Laverick, Mason, Bodilly) - Bath Rugby 5 (Humfrey)
Game 5: Bristol Rugby 33 (Edwards 2, Bird, Uren, Slowik) - Bath Rugby 12 (Mercer, Davis)
Game 6: Wasps 19 (Howe, Dolan, Miller) - Exeter Chiefs 26 (Sam Simmonds 2, Joe Simmonds, Bodilly)