Bath Rugby battled to take the West Country derby day spoils at Kingsholm, beating Gloucester Rugby 6-15.
Greig Laidlaw had the chance to take an early lead for the home side, however the kick was uncharacteristically sent wide by the scrum-half.
The wet conditions underfoot played their part in an error-strewn first-half, as neither side seemed able to build up any meaningful momentum. Bath’s first real foray into the Gloucester 22 came 20 minutes into the half. Patient phase play allowed George Ford to shift back into the pocket, only for his drop goal attempt to come back at him off the post.
It wasn’t until the 30th minute that the first points of the game were registered on the scoreboard – James Hook firing a huge penalty over from the half-way line after Bath were penalised at the scrum. He tried to repeat his efforts moments later, but the slightly longer shot dropped short.
Half-time score: Gloucester Rugby 3 – Bath Rugby 0
As the weather improved, so did the rugby. Bath came out with real purpose at the start of the second-half, pressurising the home side in their own half.
A drop goal from Ford drew the visitors level after 45 minutes, but Laidlaw added a penalty of his own not long after to take his side back in front.
With scoring opportunities few and far between, any chances at goal were taken. Ford saw a long-range penalty attempt fall just wide, but the momentum was with the visitors, and the concerted amount of pressure being put on the hosts soon paid off.
An attacking lineout five metres out provided a solid platform from which Bath attacked. Gloucester defended the maul well, however couldn’t prevent the ball being sent quickly through the hands along the backline. Tom Homer drew the defence, allowing Anthony Watson to find the gap on the outside to dive into the corner and score. 6-8.
Laidlaw’s off-target day with the boot continued, two penalty attempts from distance falling away short of the uprights. Instead, it was Bath who had the deciding play in the game five minutes from time.
A scrum – of which there were many in this game – in the home 22 provided quick ball to the backs. Watson was tackled just short of the line, but the ball was quickly recycled and ended in the hands of Man of the Match Matt Banahan, who had the simple task of dotting down in the corner. Ford added the conversion to increase the points difference to nine.
It was too much for Gloucester to overcome, and with time up on the clock, Banahan sent the ball sailing into touch to seal the derby day victory for the visitors.
Final score: Gloucester Rugby 6 – Bath Rugby 15