Bath United continued their strong run of form against the armed forces with a 55-21 defeat of the British Army at the Rec tonight.
Ollie Devoto took the first points of the match after the Army infringed at a ruck in the opening minute, and no sooner had he taken that sweetly-struck three-pointer than United had scored their first try two minutes later.
Stopping Samoan Alafoti Fa'osiliva from close quarters is a tough proposition indeed, and so the Army found it as the openside – returning from a lengthy injury lay-off – scored United's first try off the back of an attacking lineout by the home side. Devoto converted well, meaning United had got off to an ideal start. 10-0.
At the other end of the field, the Army were awarded a penalty try in the eighth minute when United were deemed to have illegally brought down a driving maul. Army fullback SPR Read converted from in front of the posts. 10-7.
In the 21st minute, United looked good going forward in the Army half, until an opposition tackler inadvertently headed the ball in the collision. The ball propelled upfield and United were on the back foot as the Army backs chased after it. It was a try full of adventure in the open field, with a Sevens-inspired move ending with LCPL Bishop dotting down under the posts. Read added the extras. 10-14.
With half time fast approaching, United needed to make the most of the territorial advantage they'd enjoyed throughout the first half but had failed to convert into points. Five minutes from time, Fa'osiliva duly powered over for another close-range effort. The conversion was missed by Devoto, but his opportunity to make amends for the error came in the 40th minute.
The ball found Heathcote well inside the Army half with little space outside him, but the quick-thinking fly-half dummied the oncoming tackler, thus enabling wing George Wacokecoke enough room to break through and score on his United debut. Devoto's assured touchline conversion was superb, giving United a healthy half-time lead.
Half time: Bath United 22 – British Army 14
United started the second half the stronger, winning a scrum penalty and attacking quickly from the resulting lineout in the Army's 22. Olly Woodburn came off his wing and glided crossfield, the ball eventually finding United's other winger, George Wacokecoke, for the debutant's second try of the match.
Heathcote, taking over goal-kicking duties, made it 29-14 with his conversion. A remarkable shove at the scrum by United in the 47th minute gave the home team a penalty try, which Heathcote converted. 36-14.
Not content with just making his kicks, Heathcote scored a try of his own ten minutes later, as well as adding the extras. 43-14.
In the 59th minute, scrum-half Martin Roberts was sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident which also led to a penalty try to the Army. 43-21.
With ten minutes left on the clock, Rory Jennings made an immediate impact from the bench. The replacement scrum-half took an inside pass from Lane on the wing, bumped off the defender and scored – all within two minutes of being on the field. Lane's conversion attempt drifted right of the posts. 48-21.
There was still time for one more try from United, with replacement second row Jake Oldaker busting through for his side's final try of the match with barely a minute left to play. Lane's conversion was just the icing on the cake of a memorable evening for United.
Full time: Bath United 55 – British Army 21