The team that ran out onto the Rec in the Blue, Black and White on Saturday was a mixture of experience and youth.
Club captain Stuart Hooper led the team offering experience in the forwards, along with Simon Taylor and Anthony Perenise. Recent recruit Brett Sharman, Charlie Beech, Josh Ovens and Guy Mercer were brought into the pack on the back of great success with United.
Despite an excellent breakaway first quarter try by the Newport Dragons, it was the Bath pack who were on fire as the front three were dominating the scrums from the start. It was the pressure of the forwards combining with the backs which eventually led to turnover ball, and the opportunity for the exciting former army star Semesa Rokoduguni to go over for his first try for the Club in the first 10 minutes of his first team career.
The return of Tom Heathcote at fly half, partnering Chris Cook at scrum half who was an early replacement for the injured Mark McMillan, proved to be the launch pad for Bath to play some exciting, attacking, running rugby. When a defensive clearance was needed, the reliable and accurate boot of Ollie Devoto propelled the boys forward with huge gains of yardage up the field. Throughout the first half Bath played controlled, possession rugby and, despite having the majority of the best moments of the half, went into the break with a slender lead.
The second half kicked off with purpose as Bath went on the attack. Josh Ovens, deservedly back into First Team action, broke through the gainline, was tackled just a few yards short of the posts and offloaded to Matt Banahan who scored to extend the lead. Tom Heathcote converted and was putting on a masterful kicking performance that was to result in five penalties and three conversions in a man of the match performance with his contribution of 21 points.
As Bath continued to drive forward, Rokoduguni took a great angle, collected a pass and, like a tank, powered through the Newport defence for his second try of the match, rounding off a highly impressive debut.
However, the second half will be remembered for Bath continuing to power forward throughout the third and fourth quarters, Josh Ovens and Charlie Beech spearheading the drives with ball carry after ball carry. Even after having a player yellow carded for bringing down the maul, the Dragons tested the patience of Welsh referee LLyr APG-Roberts by continuously giving away wave after wave of penalties, yet no penalty try was awarded.
After the disappointment of the London Welsh game, this was a case of bouncebackability as the boys in Blue, Black White roared their way to an emphatic 36-15 win