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Bath Rugby tame Tigers in season finale

Bath Rugby 38 v Leicester Tigers 27

Bath Rugby ended their season on a high this afternoon, beating Leicester Tigers 38-27 at a sun-drenched Recreation Ground.

Five tries - two of which came from Semesa Rokoduguni – were enough to see off the play-off bound Tigers, in an entertaining contest in front of a capacity crowd. 

Bath went into the game knowing that five of their squad – Dom Day, Ollie Devoto, Horacio Agulla, Rob Webber and Jonathan Evans – are moving on ahead of next season, and the supporters of the Blue, Black and White made it a special atmosphere at the Rec ahead of kick-off.

A light shower before kick-off made for an error-strewn opening to the game – and one that Bath made the most of almost immediately.

A sharp break from the Bath forwards presented Rokoduguni with the ball 20 metres out, and the winger, fresh from his two Army tries last week, burst through a weak Leicester tackle to dot down under the posts. George Ford made no mistake with his conversion.

The hosts then had to weather a Tigers storm, holding Leicester up after several phases camped on the Bath try line.

With conditions worsening, both sides coped well with a greasy ball in the opening fifteen minutes.

With seventeen on the clock however, the Tigers clawed their way level. After winning a penalty and kicking into the corner, Fraser Bailman capitalised from a pick-and-drive to rumble over the whitewash.

Fly-half Owen Williams’ kick clipped the upright, but fell over the bar to level the game at 7-7.

Straight from the kick-off, Bath piled the pressure back on their visitors, and through the boot of Ford from the kicking tee regained their lead.

Bath’s defence stood firm for yet more phases of hard-hitting, physical rugby – but after Tigers retained the ball from a five-metre scrum with just over ten minutes of the half remaining, Peter Betham charged through a tackle to score under the posts.

Again, Williams’s conversion was successful, making the score 10-14.

With four minutes left of the half, the Tigers breached the Bath defence once more. After committing men to the breakdown, fullback Matthew Tait found himself in acres of space just a metre out, and duly cantered over to increase the visitors’ lead.

Williams failed to convert Tait’s try, keeping the gap at nine points. It turned out to be the last piece of action of the half.

Half time: Bath Rugby 10-19 Leicester Tigers

After the break, Bath got off to the perfect start.

A surging Anthony Watson run straight through the heart of the Tigers defence meant the momentum was with the Bath backs, and when the ball found Devoto, the departing centre tore through a tackle to score. Ford added the extras with ease.

Devoto then was replaced by Rhys Priestland – and received a much-deserved standing ovation from the Rec faithful.

Leicester countered the Bath momentum shortly after through the boot of Williams, meaning the gap stood at five points with half an hour to play.

This did little to deter the Bath attack and within minutes the West Country side were back ahead. More fantastic work from Rokoduguni gained some extra metres, and when Francois Louw got the ball in hands, the outcome was never in doubt. Ford converted his try, extending the lead.

Then came the second half’s flashpoint. Tigers loosehead Ellis Genge appeared to catch Homer late after a box kick, but escaped any punishment from referee Craig Maxwell-Keys after a long look at the replay.

Undeterred by the injustice, Bath kicked on and from the resulting penalty ran in another try. Rokoduguni, at the heart of every Bath break all afternoon, powered away to arc his run into the corner, shrugging off a pair of tackles in the process.

The tight angle made for a difficult conversion for Ford, but he made no mistake.

A resolute Bath defensive effort halted the Tigers’ charge for the next ten minutes, but something had to give and after the ball was spread wide, not even the seemingly omnipotent Rokoduguni could prevent an overlap and Will Evans raced over.

The conversion again hit the upright, but Bath’s lead was trimmed to four.

With three left on the clock, Chris Cook’s opportunistic kick ahead set up a promising platform for the home side – and much to the jubilation of the Thatchers’ terrace, they got their reward.

An arrow-straight pass from Jonathan Joseph found replacement wing Jeff Williams on the left, who powered home in the corner – and after the TMO was consulted, Ford nailed his kick to give Bath an eleven-point lead. 

In bright sunshine, it proved to be the final act of an enthralling game – and a fitting way to bring down the curtain on Bath’s season.

Full time: Bath Rugby 38-27 Leicester Tigers

Report by Dan Brown. 

Match details

Recreation Ground
Aviva Premiership
7 May 2016
KO 15:30

Attendance: 13,515
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Half Time score: 10-19

Bath:
Tries: Rokoduguni (2, 54), Devoto (41), Louw (51), Williams (78)
Conversions: Ford (2, 42, 52, 56, 79)
Penalties: Ford (19)
Tigers:
Tries: Balmain (15), Betham (26), Tait (35), Evans (65)
Conversions: Williams (16, 26)
Penalties: Williams (47)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Bath and Tigers.

3'

Try for Bath! Bath 5 - 0 Tigers

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

3'

Conversion! Bath 7 - 0 Tigers

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

16'

Try for Tigers! Bath 7 - 5 Tigers

Fraser Balmain scores for Tigers.

17'

Conversion! Bath 7 - 7 Tigers

Owen Williams with a conversion for Tigers.

20'

Penalty Goal! Bath 10 - 7 Tigers

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

27'

Try for Tigers! Bath 10 - 12 Tigers

Peter Betham scores for Tigers.

27'

Conversion! Bath 10 - 14 Tigers

Owen Williams with a conversion for Tigers.

29'

Substitution

Leroy Houston replaces Francois Louw for Bath.

36'

Try for Tigers! Bath 10 - 19 Tigers

Mathew Tait scores for Tigers.

37'

Substitution

Francois Louw replaces Leroy Houston for Bath.

41'

HALF TIME

Match score: Bath 10 - 19 Tigers.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

41'

Substitution

Jono Kitto replaces Ben Youngs for Tigers.

41'

Substitution

Tom Dunn replaces Rob Webber for Bath.

42'

Try for Bath! Bath 15 - 19 Tigers

Ollie Devoto scores for Bath.

43'

Conversion! Bath 17 - 19 Tigers

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

45'

Substitution

Rhys Priestland replaces Ollie Devoto for Bath.

46'

Substitution

Kane Palma-Newport replaces David Wilson for Bath.

48'

Penalty Goal! Bath 17 - 22 Tigers

Owen Williams kicks a penalty goal for Tigers.

52'

Try for Bath! Bath 22 - 22 Tigers

Francois Louw scores for Bath.

53'

Conversion! Bath 24 - 22 Tigers

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

54'

Substitution

Logovi'i Mulipola replaces Ellis Genge for Tigers.

54'

Substitution

Harry Thacker replaces Leonardo Ghiraldini for Tigers.

54'

Substitution

Greg Bateman replaces Fraser Balmain for Tigers.

55'

Try for Bath! Bath 29 - 22 Tigers

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

57'

Conversion! Bath 31 - 22 Tigers

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

58'

Substitution

Dominic Day replaces Dave Attwood for Bath.

58'

Substitution

Leroy Houston replaces David Denton for Bath.

58'

Substitution

Tommy Bell replaces Mathew Tait for Tigers.

66'

Try for Tigers! Bath 31 - 27 Tigers

Will Evans scores for Tigers.

67'

Substitution

Chris Cook replaces Will Homer for Bath.

67'

Substitution

Max Lahiff replaces Nathan Catt for Bath.

67'

Substitution

David Denton replaces Francois Louw for Bath.

70'

Substitution

Jeff Williams replaces Matt Banahan for Bath.

70'

Substitution

Laurence Pearce replaces Jordan Crane for Tigers.

72'

Substitution

George Worth replaces Jack Roberts for Tigers.

73'

Substitution

Dom Barrow replaces Laurence Pearce for Tigers.

79'

Try for Bath! Bath 36 - 27 Tigers

Jeff Williams scores for Bath.

80'

Conversion! Bath 38 - 27 Tigers

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

81'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Bath 38 - 27 Tigers.

Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
George Ford051013
Semesa Rokoduguni200010
Francois Louw10005
Ollie Devoto10005
Jeff Williams10005
Tigers Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Owen Williams02107
Fraser Balmain10005
Will Evans10005
Peter Betham10005
Mathew Tait10005
Bath v Tigers
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PNathan
Catt
1Ellis
Genge
P    
    HRob
Webber
2Leonardo
Ghiraldini
H    
    PDavid
Wilson
3Fraser
Balmain
P1   
    LCharlie
Ewels
4Ed
Slater
L    
    LDave
Attwood
5Sebastian
De Chaves
L    
    FLMatt
Garvey
6Tom
Croft
FL    
   1FLFrancois
Louw
7Will
Evans
FL1   
    8David
Denton
8Jordan
Crane
8    
    SHWill
Homer
9Ben
Youngs
SH    
1 5 FHGeorge
Ford
10Owen
Williams
FH 2 1
    WMatt
Banahan
11George
Catchpole
W    
   1COllie
Devoto
12Jack
Roberts
C    
    CJonathan
Joseph
13Peter
Betham
C1   
   2WSemesa
Rokoduguni
14Adam
Thompstone
W    
    FBAnthony
Watson
15Mathew
Tait
FB1   
Replacements
    RHTom
Dunn
16Harry
Thacker
RH    
    RPMax
Lahiff
17Logovi'i
Mulipola
RP    
    RPKane
Palma-Newport
18Greg
Bateman
RP    
    RLDominic
Day
19Dom
Barrow
R    
    RFLLeroy
Houston
20Laurence
Pearce
R8    
    RSHChris
Cook
21Jono
Kitto
RSH    
    RCRhys
Priestland
22Tommy
Bell
RFB    
   1RWJeff
Williams
23George
Worth
RC