Bath United recorded an impressive 37-44 victory over Gloucester United in a high scoring encounter at Kingsholm in the Premiership Rugby Shield.
Ross Batty, Cooper Vuna and Kahn Fotuali’i all marked their return to action in the win over their West Country rivals.
The Blue, Black and White went ahead within the first few minutes with Ruaridh McConnochie continuing his recent scoring record finishing at pace to give his side the early lead on the scoreboard. [0-5]
Bath doubled their advantage 10 minutes later through Jack Davies, who crashed over following a strong break in the midfield from Josh Lilley. [0-10]
Gloucester hit back with a try of their own to close the gap to the three points following a fine solo effort from Jack Reeves, with Charlie Chapman adding the extras. [7-10]
In a frenetic opening 25 minutes, it was Bath who were next to add to their tally, with Vuna showing his physical presence to break a tackle and cross the whitewash. Wil Partington made it a seven-point score with a successful attempt from the tee. [7-17]
Bath continued to show their strength and scored their fourth try of the half, with McConnochie adding to his earlier effort. The winger once again showed his killer instinct bypassing two Gloucester defenders to put Bath firmly in control. Partington once again added the conversion.
Chapman got another three points on the board, with Callum Allen then closing the gap further, powering his way over from close range.
Bath had the last say before the interval, as Vuna went from scorer to provider. After claiming a kick, the experienced back offloaded to his midfield partner Will Butt to go into the break with a 14-point lead.
Half-time – Gloucester United 17-31 Bath United
The first blow went to the home side in the second half, as Reeves went over for his second of the game showing good footwork to evade the last line of defence. Chapman added another penalty to put the Cherry and Whites to within four points. [27-31]
Moments later, the hosts were reduced to 14 men, with Alex Craig shown the yellow card. The man advantage paid off, with fly-half Harry Davey going over in the corner. It was two quickfire tries, as McConnochie completed his hat-trick following great work in the build-up from Partington, who showed his skills with ball in hand. [27-41]
Gloucester continued to test the resolve of the Bath defence with George Barton putting Reece Dunn over following a spectacular out of the back offload. With eight minutes to play, Alex Morgan put the home side within touching distance finishing in the corner. [37-41]
Despite a strong second half showing from Gloucester, it was Bath who ensured the victory would be going their way with a successful penalty from Partington three minutes before the final whistle.
Full-time – Gloucester United 37-44 Bath United
Image courtesy of Martin Bennett/Gloucester Rugby