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Bath unlucky in London

Bath came away with a bonus point from the match against Harlequins on Sunday losing 21-14 at the Stoop.

The opening 10 minutes saw both sides' trade penalties with Butch James and Quins fly-half Nick Evans landing two penalties each to put the sides level at 6-6.
In the 18th minute with Bath under pressure, a late tackle gifted the home side a penalty. Evans was unable to covert however and the scores remained level. Minutes later Bath nearly capitalised on some unease in the Harlequins twenty-two with Matt Banahan inches away from charging down a clearance kick to touch.

In the 27th minute Bath regained the lead with James hitting a penalty from a difficult angle out on the left. 6-9 to Bath. A period of sustained Quins possession was then rewarded with a penalty in the 34th minute and Evans slotted home to equal the scores.

The remaining minutes of the first half saw more of the same but Quins were unable to capitalise despite a putting a number of testing kicks behind the blue, black and whites defence. The sides went into the break on a 9-9 stalemate.

The game did not seem like it would be any different in the second half with both sides trading kicks in the opening exchanges. In the 47th minute the game came alive. A good kick to the corner by Harlequins winger Seb Stegmann put Bath under pressure but from the resulting line-out, Bath counter-attacked and within 30 seconds they had effectively taken the ball right up to the other end of the pitch with some crisp passing that had Quins on the back foot.

The platform layed out by this break resulted in Dan Browne crossing the whitewash in the 47th minute. From the break down Bath moved the ball from the left side of the field quickly before hooker Pieter Dixon was able to break through the Quins defence and then pop the ball to Browne who muscled his way over. James missed the conversion but Bath took a 14-9 lead.

Matt Banahan was then involved in one potential game saving incident and one potential game winning one. First a good tackle took the momentum out of what was almost a certain try for Quins and then minutes later he looked almost certain to score himself by capitalising on loose ball, only to have to be called back with the ref judging that Michael Claassens had knocked the ball on out of a tackle.

In the 62nd minute, Quins levelled the scores with Jordan Turner Hall breaking resilient Bath defence to score. Like James earlier, Evans missed the conversion. As Quins stepped up the pace looking for a winning try, prop Ceri Jones crashed over the line in the 69th minute and Evans hit the two extras to put the home side into a 21-14 lead.

Bath then had to take the game to Quins. In the dying minutes they were awarded a penalty but rather than go for the uprights they had no choice but to opt for an attacking platform and went for a scrum. Despite their best efforts Bath were unable to breakthrough and Quins kicked the ball to safety to end the match.

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