Bath United claimed the first lot of bragging rights in the double West Country derby at the Rec, as they beat Bristol United eight tries to three. Final score 50-19.
Both sides took their chances in the early stages of the first half with a mixture of handling errors and staunch defence preventing any fruitful attacks. However, Bath United looked to be the more composed, maintaining possession and eventually shipping the ball through the hands to a waiting Jack Cuthbert, who crossed over just shy of the right touch line. Cuthbert's conversion was just wide. 5-0.
Despite the extremely wet and slippery weather, United showed their ability to play in the adverse conditions throwing the ball about confidently, especially in the back three. Once more, the United forwards combined well and trundled their way up the pitch with the backs drawing the Bristol defence from one side of the pitch to another. With the Bristol defence stretched, the backs sniffed another try out wide and Nick Scott touched down unopposed. 10-0.
The might of the United pack began to dominate as the end of the first half loomed. With numerous scrums occurring from the difficult handling conditions, Bath United over powered their West Country rivals in their own 22 to force a penalty try. Paul Roberts converted. 17-0.
Bristol United did manage to get some points on the board at the close of the half as a quickly taken penalty formed a ruck on Bath United's try line, and the quick thinking of Bristol scrum-half Tom Slater enabling him to snipe over from close quarters. Fly-half Mark Cooke converted making the half time score 17-7.
As the game resumed and the second 40 began, Bath United's front row received a change around with Duncan Bell coming on and making an immediate impact. Drawing his opposing defender, Bell released the ball to Scott, who sprinted down to the touchline to score his second try. 22-7.
Bristol fought back with a neat chip and chase to provide their second try but the conversion drifted wide. 22-12. Bath's prop Charlie Beech bundled over the try line soon after but his effort was deemed to be held up by the referee.
However, it didn't take long after for Bath to convert their efforts into more points as the powerhouse pack steam rolled the Bristol pack, resulting in another penalty try. 29-12.
Despite the poor weather continuing to drench the Rec faithful, a lovely passage of play ended up with Tom Heathcote bouncing two tacklers and dragging another two over the try line with him to score Bath's sixth try. Roberts slotted the kick. 36-12.
Academy graduate, Guy Mercer showed why he has earned himself a full professional contract with an impressive effort of his own; driving over from short range to add another Bath try. The extras were added. 43-12.
Beech was finally awarded some substance for his effort as he took Bath past the half century mark, with a well-deserved try. Replacement fly-half Freddie Gabbitass provided the conversion. 50-12.
Despite Bath's dominance throughout the whole game, Bristol United grabbed a consolation try to finish the game 50-19.