Bath Rugby edged out of hard-fought derby

Despite a converted try within the first minute of the game from Stephen Donald, Bath Rugby could not prevent local rivals Gloucester taking the bragging rights in a physical, hard-fought West Country derby at Kingsholm. Final Score 16-10.

It looked to be the perfect start for Bath when Donald went over after just 32 seconds. Nick Abendanon had burst through and offloaded to David Wilson, who then made a bullocking run of his own. The tighthead quickly offloaded out of the tackle to Donald who burst through the Gloucester defence and sprinted 40 metres to score. He converted his own try, giving the visitors an early 0-7 lead.

It was a lead they held on to for the remainder of the first half as they pinned the home side back in their own half, quickly snuffing out any threat of attack from the Cherry and Whites.

With the notorious Shed somewhat quieter than normal, the 14th minute initially seemed to silence them even more. Sam Vesty received the ball in the midfield and looped round to grubber through to Eastmond out wide. The wing danced along the edge of the try-line, and managed to get the ball away to Abendanon just before he was tackled. Abendanon touched down, and it looked as if Bath had doubled their lead. Referee Dave Pearson consulted the TMO however, who ruled no try as Eastmond had edged into touch before offloading.

A penalty at the scrum meant Bath could extend their lead six minutes later though, Donald sending the ball sailing through the posts following some good work from the pack. 0-10.

Whilst Bath were on top for much of the first half, two penalties late in the first half from Freddie Burns got some points on the board for the home side, and gave them a lift going in at half-time. 6-10.

Burns had the chance early in the second-half to narrow the gap once more, but he was wide with the penalty attempt.

It didn't dent the Gloucester confidence though, and they dominated early on in the second half. They appeared to have got their first try of the match through Shane Monahan, but some critical defensive work from Tom Biggs and Ben Skirving saw the TMO rule no try after a double movement from the wing.

The Bath defence was working incredibly hard to keep the home side at bay, and after 52 minutes, they were stretched too far – Rob Cook going over in the corner. Burns got the conversion, giving Gloucester the lead for the first time in the game. 13-10.

A cliché it may be, but the game was quickly becoming one of two halves – whilst Gloucester had struggled for possession in the first half, so Bath were doing in the second. There were good breaks from Donald, Skirving and Biggs, but the visitors just couldn't capitalise on them.

A drop goal from Burns on the 72nd minute gave the home side a small buffer, and whilst Bath battled hard for the remaining minutes, they were unable to breach the fierce home defence, and so had to settle for a losing bonus point.

Final Score – Gloucester Rugby 16 – Bath Rugby 10.

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