Closing minutes steal victory from Bath

England may have walked away commiserating last night's loss, but the Recreation Ground was full of jubilation after an inspiring win for Bath with a final score of 29 -15 against visiting Worcester Warriors in the opening Guinness Premiership show down.

Worcester Warriors opened the game by gaining a penalty kick in the 2nd minute, which was executed by fly-half Shane Drahm. If the fans thought this was an indication of how the match would pan out, they couldn't have been further from the truth.

Although the first scrummage was won by the visiting Warriors, a quick boot from Ryan Davis saw the ball catapulted into Worcester's 22. Bath failed to win the ensuing line out, but a saving catch from Matt Banahan, ensured that the ball failed to make headway and Worcester were prevented from making any ground. It was not long before the triumvirate of Tom Cheeseman, Ryan Davis and Michael Claassens gave the scrum half the opportunity to make his mark on the match, scoring the first try of the game. Shaun Berne converted by clipping the ball over with ease.

The Warriors responded by picking up the pace and winning a lineout at the 11th minute, with the chance to gain some points, but failed to make the penalty kick which was taken just off the halfway line.

Bath refused to offer any respite for the Warriors and as Chris Goodman found Cheeseman and Davis with some quick passes, a further lineout became entrenched a few feet away from the try line, after the ball fell into touch.

Matt Banahan once again roared through the right wing, bombarding his way through the Worcester defence, in time for Jack Cuthbert to burst over the line. This appeared to dampen the Warriors spirit and whilst they responded with slippages, Bath's motivation rose enough to see fly half Ryan Davis rampage up the pitch, to an awaiting Claassens, who inches away from the try line was taken down mid-stride.

The unsuspecting Warriors were next met with Pieter Dixon, who burst into their 22, but was answered by Matt Powell who gained a try at the 30th minute, which was converted by Shane Drahm. This appeared to inject some energy to Worcester and the pace looked like it was on the brink of picking up.

A questionable decision of a Bath knock-on moments before half-time, meant that Worcester were given the scrum. Luckily, the ball quickly found Shaun Berne, who returned it back to just outside Worcester's 22. The following lineout was won by lock Martin Purdy and forced into Worcester's danger zone by Peter Short. As ever, Michael Claassens was perfectly positioned to pass to David Barnes who drove towards the line and although he was stopped 5metres short, Jack Cuthbert soared over the line for his second try of the game and with a tricky conversion executed by Shaun Berne, the score was taken up to 19 - 10 to Bath at the half-time whistle.

Tom Cheeseman signalled a promising second half start with an explosive run and pass to Ryan Davis whose attempted drop goal failed to gain points. The scrum down on the halfway line was taken by Worcester and driven towards Bath territory by Worcester's Gary Trueman and with a penalty kick at the 52nd minute by Shane Drahm, the Warriors enjoyed a momentary glimpse of victory.

New signing, Daniel Browne and Jonny Faamatuainu stormed onto the pitch in place of Zak Feaunati and Andy Beattie, and Jonny didn't waste any time chasing the ball straight into the opposition's 22 where he forced them to kick the ball into touch. Matt Banahan looked like he was about to take the score to 24 for Bath, but with a take down of Nick Abendanon, who had just received the ball, a penalty kick by Berne grabbed Bath the next points instead.

After a chip and chase at the 67th minute from Jack Cuthbert, it saw Bath staring down their scoring try line, and with a strong drive by the pack, Daniel Browne made his presence felt by scoring a try three minutes later.

In the final minutes, an explosive run from Worcester's scrum half, Ryan Powell, gave Thinus Delport the chance to shine and he celebrated a last minute try taking the score to 29 to 15.

Some valiant attempts by Worcester in the remaining minutes was not enough to gain them any further points, and although Thinus Delport made it to mere inches away from the try line, Matt Banahan obliterated his attempts, leaving Bath to walk away with a handsome win.

Bath: 15. Nick Abendanon 14. Jack Cuthbert 13. Tom Cheeseman 12. Shaun Berne 11. Matt Banahan 10. Ryan Davis 9. Michael Claassens 1. David Barnes 2. Pieter Dixon 3. Aaron Jarvis 4. Martin Purdy 5. Peter Short 6. Andy Beattie 7. Chris Goodman 8. Zak Feaunati (c)

Replacements: 16. Rob Hawkins 17. Laurence Ovens 18. Rob Fidler 19. Jonny Faamatuainu 20. Daniel Browne 21. Nick Walshe 22. Andy Higgins

Worcester: 15. Chris Pennell 14. Thinus Delport 13. Dale Rasmussen 12. Gary Trueman 11. Marcel Garvey 10. Shane Drahm 9. Matt Powell 1. Tony Windo 2. Chris Fortey 3. Tevita Taumoepeau 4. Phil Murphy 5. Craig Gillies
6. Tom Wood 7. Pat Sanderson 8. Kai Horstmann

Replacements: 16. Darren Morris 17. Ben Gotting 18. Will Bowley 19. Gavin Quinnell 20. Ryan Powell 21. James Brown 22. Mark Tucker


3: Penalty Drahm, 0 -3
7: Try Claassens, Conversion Berne, 7 - 3
18: Try Cuthbert, 12 - 3
30: Try Powell, Conversion Drahm,12 - 10
39: Try Cuthbert, 19 - 10
63: Penalty Berne, 22 - 10
70: Try Browne, Conversion Berne, 29 - 10
76: Try Delport, 29 - 15

Attendance: 10,010

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