A last minute try from Ross Batty wasn't enough to keep Bath Rugby from suffering a 17-8 defeat at the hands of Leicester Tigers this afternoon in the Aviva Premiership.
A sweetly-struck penalty from George Ford on four minutes opened the scoring for Bath, but from then on the hosts slowly gained control.
A penalty attempt from Owen Williams came back off the post, and in the process of clearing-up, Bath were penalised, providing Williams with another, easier, shot at goal. 3-3.
The visitors found themselves on the wrong side of referee Matthew Carley throughout the first-half, and it was from a penalty that Leicester struck next as the ball was dispatched to touch by Williams. The driving maul, so often the weapon of choice for the Tigers, was set into action and hooker Tom Youngs was at the back to ground the ball. Williams missed the conversion, but the score tightened the home side's grip on the game. 8-3.
A penalty on the 20 minute mark extended the lead further for Tigers, but some outstanding, committed defending from Bath meant they were stopped from crossing the try-line again.
Instead, Bath thought they had the next score, but for it to be ruled out for a forward pass. The ball had been worked swiftly through the hands and into the 22, providing Sam Burgess with the opportunity to crash over from short range only for Carley to quickly decide to not award the score.
Ford had the opportunity to narrow the gap on the stroke of half-time but his kick drifted just wide of the upright.
Half-time: Leicester Tigers 8 – Bath Rugby 3.
A scrappy second-half ensued when both teams came back out, but Williams kept the scoreboard ticking over with two penalties on 45 and 60 minutes.
The set-piece became the focal point, with Bath gaining parity at both scrum-time and the lineout. Both Horacio Agulla and replacement Semesa Rokoduguni went close to scoring along the touchline following solid lineouts from Bath, only for both to be pushed into touch.
Bath were working hard to try and build some form of attacking momentum, searching for the gaps in the strong Tigers defence, but nothing seemed to be going their way.
There was no indication of the visitors giving up though, and as the game was entering its final minute, another lineout saw the Bath maul formed and determinedly forced its way over the line. Batty emerged from underneath the pile of bodies having touched the ball down, but Ford was unable to seal the losing bonus point with the conversion.
Final score: Leicester Tigers 17 – Bath Rugby 8.
4 January 2015
Referee: Matthew Carley
Half Time score: 11-3
- Tries: Youngs (16)
- Penalties: Williams (8, 20, 44, 59)
- Tries: Batty (79)
- Penalties: Ford (4)