Bath United got their season up and running with a five try 35-7 victory over the UK Armed Forces in a Remembrance Match at the Recreation Ground.
The first quarter of the game was spent largely in the UKAF 22, however it wasn’t until the 15th minute that United breached their defences.
A series of set-pieces eventually yielded the ball to the backs. They quickly moved it across the field and back inside into the hands of Max Clark, who powered over to score the opening try of the game. Rory Jennings converted. 7-0.
On a wet and windy night both teams were struggling to make much headway into the opposition’s defence, but a stroke of luck on the 32nd minute led to UKAF getting some points on the board. A chip ahead from Jennings bounced awkwardly for fullback Darren Atkins, and was instead pounced on by Rgr Chris Leatham, who stormed away for the try. Bdr Owain Davies added the conversion to draw the scores level.
Half-time: Bath United 7 – Uk Armed Forces 7
The pace and footwork of Jeff Williams gave United a bright start to the second-half, as the winger latched on to a loose pass, sprinted three-quarters of the length of the pitch and through the UKAF defence to score. Jennings was again on target with the conversion. 14-7.
Despite the lead for United, UKAF held their own up until the point their captain, Lt Will Jones, was sin-binned on the 61st minute. The home side made good use of the man advantage, scoring twice in quick succession.
First, some superb aerial work from Atkins saw the fullback take a neat cross-field chip from replacement Adam Hastings to dot down in the corner. A tricky angle proved no problem for Jennings, who once more added the two points from the tee. 21-7.
A barnstorming run from Zach Mercer created the next try. The number eight showed a good turn of pace to evade the oncoming defence, before the ball was recycled quickly through the hands to Clark, who scored his second of the night from close range. The conversion from Jennings was good. 28-7.
United’s fifth and final try of the night was also their best, as Hastings and Atkins combined once more. Hastings delayed the inside pass just long enough for the fullback to pick the perfect running line through the defence and then rely on his raw pace to take him over the line. Jennings added the finishing touches with the conversion. 35-7.
As may be expected from a team made up of the Armed Forces, UKAF did not give in easily, and could’ve scored in the final two minutes, however some lose handling near the line allowed United to clear their lines and see off the danger.
Final score: Bath United 35 – UK Armed Forces 7.
Bath United team v UK Armed Forces*
15 Darren Atkins
14 Jeff Williams
13 Max Clark
12 Brett Herron
11 Liam Forsyth
10 Rory Jennings
9 Jonathan Evans
1 Nathan Catt
2 Tom Dunn
3 Kane Palma-Newport
4 Charlie Ewels
5 Pat Jenkinson
6 Sydney Blackmore
7 Max Northcote-Green
8 Zach Mercer
16 Dan Frost
17 Beno Obano
18 Jack Edmondson
19 James Catlin
20 Will Britton
21 Adam Hastings
22 Owen Waters
23 Dom Mackenzie
*Italics denote current and former Bath Rugby Senior Academy players.