Commanding Chiefs claim West Country spoils at the Rec

Having already won the West Country Challenge Cup with a game in hand, Exeter Chiefs put in a commanding second-half performance at the Rec to win 16-43. 

In the last instalment of t the competition, both Bath Rugby and the Chiefs were looking to end their pre-Aviva Premiership campaigns on a high.

Both sides were out of the blocks from the off, with the early exchanges relatively even. The first points of the afternoon came when the Bath front row got the nudge on at scrum time and Tom Homer then adding the three points from the tee after four minutes.

After some patient build-up, with impressive link-up play, Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie went over for the opening try.  Gareth Steenson then added the extras to make it 3-7 after 10 minutes. 

The boys in Blue, Black and White didn’t have to wait long for their next points as more pressure at the scrum meant Tom Homer made it 6-7 after 17 minutes. 

Bath and Exeter were fighting for territory in a tight game with both sides showing impressive defence. After 27 minutes, Ollie Devoto was helped from the field and replaced by Rory Jennings.

Exeter, however, were struggling with their discipline which enabled Homer’s boot to give Bath the lead after 36 minutes, 9-7 the score nearing the break.

At points throughout the half Exeter looked dangerous going forward. After a lengthy passage of play, Will Chudley found a gap and sent Dave Ewers rumbling over. Steenson added the extras to make it 9-14.

Right on half time, Bath struck back. Kyle Eastmond set Matt Banahan free and the winger chipped down the touchline to collect his own kick for a wonderful Bath score. Homer added the extras to make it 16-14 at the break.

HALF TIME: Bath Rugby 16-14 Exeter Chiefs

Immediately after the break Exeter were on the attack again. Bath defended valiantly but gave away a penalty in their own 22. Steenson put Exeter in the lead: 16-17.

On 55 minutes Exeter slowly built the phases until James Short found space down the left hand side. He then proceeded to offload to Damien Welch who ran in for the try. Steenson added the extras to make it 16-24 to the visitors.

On the hour mark Exeter were awarded a penalty in the Bath 22. After a kick to the corner Thomas Waldrom crossed for the visitors, Steenson this time failing to add the extras. Now it was 16-29 after 61 minutes.

The following passages of play were all Bath but they couldn’t breach the Chiefs defence. Exeter then worked their way up the field. After some phases in the Bath 22, Will Hooley put James Short into space for the visitors' fourth try. Hooley then added the two points from the touchline.

After some midfield exchanges, Exeter delivered a hammer blow. James Short made his way through the Bath defence and then offloaded to Byron McGuigan for the score on 79 minutes. Will Hooley added the extras.

FULL TIME: Bath Rugby 16-43 Exeter Chiefs

Report by Jack Pitt

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