Bath Rugby draw pulsating derby match

Trailing 15-21 midway through the second half, Bath showed great spirit and determination to take the game to the Premiership leaders and would have been disappointed not to wrap up what would have been a remarkable victory at the death.

"I am not particularly happy with the draw, but then who is?" enthused Mike Foley. "However, I am very happy with the commitment of the players and the result is a sign that we are heading in the right direction."

The home side opened proceedings after just two minutes with a long range Chris Malone drop-goal, before just minutes later Gloucester showed just how dangerous thay can be on the break with Simpson-Daniel coming off his wing to cut a path past Crockett and Tindall. Although he was hauled down by Olly Barkley, the visitors had shown their intent. However, it was not to be long before the Premiership leaders bagged their first points through the boot of Frederick Mercier after Bath collapsed a scrum inside their own 22.

Gloucester continued to apply the early pressure and Mercier missed with a second penalty attempt before landing one from 29 metres after 13 minutes. Gloucester searched to break free, but Bath to their credit, battled hard in defence with Alex Crockett and Mike Tindall looking commanding. It took the previously free-scoring Cherry and Whites until the 18th minute to register their first try after Simon Emms missed a tackle to allow Andy Gomarsall to break through the line. The impressive flanker James Forrester was on hand to score.

Gloucester should have used the score to settle, but Bath did not let them. With renewed vigor the home side fought back into the game and Olly Barkley landed his first penalty of the afternoon to make the scores 6-11 after Henry Paul was penalized for holding onto the ball.

Bath continued to press and after some excellent phases of possession, Gloucester conceded a penalty after their backs were caught offside. Barkley from 25 metres added the simple three points which brought the scores to within two points at the interval.

Gloucester, though are not at the top of the table for nothing and could have increased the lead within a minute of the restart after Nathan Thomas knocked on. From the resulting scrum, the ball was spun wide, but what would have been a scoring pass from Simpson-Daniel was superbly intercepted by Man of the Match Alex Crockett.

After another Mercier miss, Gloucester came close again in the 50th minute. An impressive forward drive took the pack over line, but referee Layshon awarded Bath a penalty as Gloucester held onto the ball. Again, the pressure had been relieved by a stern Bath defence.

After 55 minutes, Mercier finally found his target after Bath were pressurised at the scrum. It was to be a short-lived advantage though, as from the restart, Bath were awarded a penalty for offside. Barkley coolly stepped up to add the three points, again reducing the deficit to just two points.

Gloucester responded by upping the tempo and scored their second try in the 63rd minute, Gomarsall's break from the scrum created an overlap for Henry Paul to score in the corner. Paul converted his score.

Barkley added another penalty in the 67th minute, before some excellent play from the Bath backs resulted in Gloucester conceding another penalty. From a similar position to his previous attempt, Barkley added the three points.

Gloucester-clearly rattled by their inability to shake off a spirited Bath side, were facing wave upon wave of attacks. In the dying moments the match built into one hell of a crescendo, and after Gloucester infringed in their desperation in defence, Barkley added the penalty to tie the match. The Rec went wild, and moments later Mr. Leyshon blew for full time.

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