Berne orchestrates hard fought win

Bath Rugby continued their fine home form, making it three wins out of three at the Rec this season with a hard fought 25-10 victory over Harlequins.
Former Bath Rugby fly-half Chris Malone had an early chance to put the away side in the lead after eight minutes, opting to take a 50metre penalty after Bath were penalized for being offside. However to the muted delight of the crowd his kick fell short.

Minutes later a Michael Claassens grubber kick nearly gained Bath a try with the Quins defender having seconds to respond and touch the ball down as it crept over the try-line with Bath attackers closing in.

In the 19th minute, Malone had a chance to make amends for his earlier miss but again he failed to hit the target and Bath were let off. With the first quarter being described by one pundit as 'ping-pong' rugby, both sides exchanged kicks for territory without really threatening.

The dead-lock was finally broken by Shaun Berne in the 27th minute with a penalty from 40metres out. This seemed to act as an impetus for both sides and in the 30th minute after sustained pressure, Peter Short brushed aside the Quins defence to score a try in the far right hand side. Berne converted the try from a difficult angle.

Michael Stephenson then extended the Bath lead. Off the back of a line-out, Shaun Berne put Stephenson away on a powerful run. Berne missed the conversion.

Harlequins had the final say on the stroke of half-time through a Steve So'oialo try which was converted by Chris Malone. Bath went into the break 15-7 up.

Malone started the second-half on a much brighter note than the previous one, hitting a penalty in the 46th minute. Quins then enjoyed a short period in the ascendancy and may well have scored with a two man overlap if Tom Cheeseman had not put in a fierce tackle which forced the attacker to drop the ball.

Berne kept his kicking boots on in the 52nd minute and scored another penalty. Quins then turned the screw on the Bath defence but were unable to capitalise despite Malone putting up a testing cross-kick on the Bath line and Ugo Monye attempting a drop-goal (which was charged down by Zak Feaunati).

Not content with sporting the best moustache on the field, Berne finished the days scoring off in the 63rd minute, scoring and then converting a try near the uprights.

With his fine work in the forwards, Jonny Faamatuainu was named Sky Sports man of the match.

Bath Rugby: Abendanon, Stephenson, Cheeseman (Crockett, 67), Berne, Davey, Davis, Claassens (Walshe, 67); Barnes (Flatman, 62), Dixon (Hawkins, 70), Ion, Short, Grewcock, Faamatuainu (Beattie, 62), Lipman, Feaunati (Browne, 60).

Scoring sequence:

28 - Berne (pen) 3-0
20 - Short (try), Berne (con) 10-0
35 - Stephenson (try) 15-0
38 - So'oialo (try), Malone (con) 15-7
46 - Malone (pen) 15-10
55 - Berne (pen) 18-0
64 - Berne (try + con) 25-10

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