Bath Rugby held on after a second-half fightback from Saracens to earn an agonising 17-17 draw at Allianz Park in Round 22, with their play-off hopes now on the line with Sale Sharks still to play on Wednesday evening.
The first-half saw Bath Rugby dominate securing 14 points through two converted tries from Beno Obano and Ben Spencer. Saracens edged close on a couple of occasions but the Bath defence prevented them from crashing over leaving their tally to just three from the boot of Manu Vunipola.
But the game took a turn in the second period as the rain continued to disturb play as Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try for a number of infringements on the Bath line and the hammer blow came when Tim Swinson crashed over from close range to level the scores just seven minutes from time.
The Autumn weather had definitely arrived at Allianz Park this afternoon but so did a formidable Bath Rugby. The men in yellow secured their first score within the three minutes when Beno Obano crashed over from close range after Bath were tight with the forward phases. Rhys Priestland converted that score to deliver the perfect start on the fly half’s 100th appearance.
Bath battled hard for their second score which came on the 17 minute mark following a Bath lineout just outside the Sarries 22. Bath were relentless to win a penalty and Ben Spencer took it quickly to rush over for his first against his old side. Priestland then made no mistakes to extend the lead to 0-14.
Sarries got on the board at 26 minutes when Tom Dunn was penalised for accidentally taking out an oncoming player after Wrigglesworth kicked up high as Watson looked to compete. Vunipola went for the sticks and converted to gain three for his side.
The teams went in for half time talks with a 3-14 scoreline and a solid start keeping play-off hopes firmly in sight.
Bath started the second half with the same level of intent and the men in Black made it clear that they were there to disrupt.
At 46 minutes Bath extended their lead by three when Priestland's effort at the sticks cruised over from 25 metres following a hard-earned penalty.
With 16 minutes left on the clock Sarries were awarded a penalty try following a round of successive scrums to make the score 10-17. Ten minutes later they secured a second try through Tim Swinson and converted to bring the scores level.
Bath Rugby are currently sat in fourth place, three points clear of Sale Sharks with the North-West side yet to play their final fixture on Wednesday.
The key moment came in the 63rd minute when Wayne Barnes awarded Saracens the penalty try. This swung the momentum in the game as the hosts clawed back to draw the game.
Tries: Beno Obano (3') Ben Spencer (17')
Conversions: Rhys Priestland (4', 18')
Penalties: Rhys Priestland (46')
Tries: Penalty Try (63'), Tim Swinson (73')
Conversions: Manu Vunipola (74')
Penalties: Manu Vunipola (74')