Bath United secured a 31-24 victory over Saracens Storm in the fifth round of the Premiership Rugby Shield at the Rec.
United started the game with intent and with just 12 minutes on the clock the hosts secured the first points. The Blue, Black and White capitalised on the catch and drive and their their persistence and patience paid off as the move created an opportunity for Ross Batty to dive over the line. No mistakes were made by fly-half, Tom de Glanville as he added the extras immediately after. [7-0]
Saracens Storm remained resilient, but United mirrored their approach from just ten minutes earlier. The host’s used the catch and drive brilliantly and enabled Batty to cross the white wash for a second time. It was deja vu as de Glanville’s kick sailed through the uprights moments later. [14-0]
Both teams went through the phases patiently, but it was Bath who made it count at the 31 minute mark. The hosts, kept the ball alive, driving their position out of their 22 and up field into Storm’s half. The ball is passed to Jack Wilson, who showed his power as he made metres up the flank. The full-back passed to de Glanville who fed the ball along the backline beautifully. Levi Davis gained some territory and offloaded with some slick hands to Max Clark who went over in the corner. The kick was narrowly missed as it hit the left post, 19-0.
An exceptional response from Saracens Storm just a few minutes later saw the team in red get their first points of the game in a fantastic show of skill. It was Tom Whiteley who darted through a hole to get his team back on the front foot. Sione Valianu powered up the middle and offloaded to Max Malins who dotted the ball down. The fly-half then made good of the kick and with 34 minutes having passed the visitors were back with seven points in their name. [19-7]
With three minutes still on the clock until half-time, United remained strong. Max Clark finally found space and broke through before offloading to Miles Reid who was incredibly close to crossing the line himself, but a clinical pass from the back rower saw him free the ball into the hands of Victor Delmas. The prop found the space and dived over the line making it a fourth try of the day for the hosts as they added some clear daylight with 21 points now separating the teams. [26-7]
As the whistle is set to blow for half-time Saracens Storm end the first half on a high, following a Bath scrum. This time it was Christopher Tolofua who crossed the whitewash and fly-half, Malins added the conversion. The whistle blows and both sides went in for half-time exuding confidence. [26-14]
Half-time - Bath United 26-14 Saracens Storm
A quick start to the second as a Bath were penalised at the breakdown just four minutes in Malins used this to his teams advantage and kicked through the sticks to narrow the gap to just nine points. [26-17]
However, the hosts weren’t stopping and the points kept coming for Bath United as Wilson showed superb strength and drew Storm’s men in just before a superb pass gave fly half, de Glanville the chance for a huge drive down the left wing. After an enormous tackle on de Glanville, Davis was found, and in the torrential rain, slid over the line in the corner adding another five points for the Blue, Black and White. The kick was unsuccessful and with 47 minutes on the clock the scoreline was 31-17 to the hosts.
The next half an hour of play saw both teams make mistake after mistake, and it looked as though United might let Storm back into the game. Bath’s defence held strong however and neither team managed to capitalise on the others short-comings.
The final points of the game were made by the visitors as Ralph Adams-Hale stormed over the line securing a losing bonus point for the men in red. Malins continued to show his consistency as he drop-kicked the conversion in the closing moments of the game.
Full-time - Bath United 31-24 Saracens Storm