Bath Rugby’s youngsters were out-gunned 59-14 by an experienced Exeter Chiefs outfit at Sandy Park in their second away game of the West Country Challenge Cup.
An early shot at goal was nudged wide by Bath's 18 year old fly-half, Adam Hastings, before his opposite number Joe Simmonds put the Chiefs ahead after eight minutes.
A superb take in the air by former-Exeter man Luke Arscott led to Bath’s first real attack of the game, with the fullback pushing off the Exeter defence before offloading to Jonathan Evans. The scrum-half got within five metres of the try line, but knocked-on in the tackle.
From there, the home side dominated the first-half. A series of scrums five metres out eventually saw the pressure tell and referee Ian Tempest award the penalty try. Simmonds added the extras. 10-0.
Six minutes later and the Bath pack were once again defending in the same corner after Exeter were held –up over the line. With Bath a man short following Luke Arscott’s sin-binning for a late tackle, Exeter powered forward at the scrum and another penalty try was signalled by the referee. Simmonds was on target for the conversion. 17-0.
Exeter’s experience up-front was telling and on 34 minutes Bath were once again reduced to 14 men after Beno Obano was shown a yellow card at the set-piece. Don Armand picked the ball up from the base of the scrum and fed Ian Whitten to cross the whitewash for the home side’s third try – the only to be scored by an Exeter back all afternoon.
Half-time – Exeter 24 – Bath Rugby 0
The home side started attacking from the off in the second-half, and their forwards were soon rumbling again – a third penalty try being given five minutes after the break, which was converted by Simmonds. 31-0.
A penalty shortly after saw them try a different approach, with the ball being sent to touch for the lineout and Ollie Atkins go over from short range. Simmonds converted. 38-0.
Starved of possession up until the 50 minute mark, and galvanised by the likes of Matt Banahan, Ollie Devoto, Matt Garvey and Leroy Houston, Bath’s first points came quickly. Devoto linked neatly with Max Clark, who jinked his way into space before offloading to Arscott to score at his old ground. Brett Herron, making his senior debut for the Club, added the extra two points. 38-7.
Exeter breached the try line three more times before the final ten minutes, with Moray Low scoring twice before Sam Skinner also dotted down as the forwards worked through their pick and go range. Simmonds continued his faultless afternoon with the boot adding the conversions on all three tries. 59-7.
Whilst the game was out of reach for Bath’s youthful side, the later stages of the game saw more attacking purpose and shape coming into the Blue, Black and White line.
Well executed attack, with Devoto at the epi-centre, saw good link play lead to a debut try for Herron, who then converted his own score to close the scoring for the afternoon.
Final score: Exeter Chiefs 59 – Bath Rugby 14.
Bath Rugby: Arscott; Atkins (Banahan 50), Clark, Jennings (Devoto 50), Williams; Hastings (Herron 40), Evans (Homer 68); Obano, Dunn (Woolstencroft 46), Palma-Newport (Auterac 50), Ewels (c), Ellis, Blackmore (Lahiff 34-44) (Garvey 48, Bolwell 74), Northcote-Green (G Mercer 68), Z Mercer (Houston 50)
Not used: Jack, O'Meara