An early second-half blitz from Saracens Storm left Bath United with a mountain to climb in tonight's Aviva A League encounter, the spirited visitors losing 30-15 at Allianz Park.
United won their first penalty of the match in the opening exchanges with a sturdy display at the scrum forcing the Storm front row upwards. This was almost immediately followed by another penalty to the visitors, this time at the breakdown, and fly-half Adam Hastings sent the ball over the posts from the middle of Storm's 10m line. 0-3.
A minute later, it was Storm with the penalty as United were penalised at a maul. They kicked to the corner for a lineout, from where they wasted little time in grinding over the United line for a try that was well converted from out wide. 7-3.
Where Storm's first try was a speedy effort, United in contrast showed patience in the build-up to their try in the 17th minute, their maul rumbling up to the opposition's 5m line before centre Max Clark came screaming into the fray to score a try against the grain. United missed with the conversion but now held a one-point lead at 7-8.
Storm regained the lead with a penalty in front of the United posts a couple of minutes later. 10-8.
As the half hour approached, wing Jeff Williams showed the benefits of an offensive defence, forcing Storm's high-ball receiver into knocking the ball into touch inside his 22. United displayed initiative from there to win the lineout and go through the phases, before scrum-half Homer made an audacious sidestep and dived over for the try. Hastings's conversion took the scores to 10-15.
On the stroke of half-time, Storm stole a United lineout throw in the visitors' 22 and, after two phases, touched down in the left-hand corner once more. The impressive touchline conversion gave them a two-point lead going into half-time.
Half-time: Saracens Storm 17-15 Bath United
Straight from the restart, United conceded a penalty that allowed Storm to increase their lead to 20-15 thanks to scrum-half Ben Spencer's kick.
Spencer was equally accurate when the opportunity arose from a near-identical position a minute later, making it 23-15 and an inopportune start to the second half for United.
Half an hour was still left to play when United suffered a hellish moment in letting slip a high ball inside their 22. The ball bounced towards their try line where Storm centre Nick Tomkins received it for a classic opportunist's try, which was duly converted. 30-15.
Regrettably, United were unfortunate not to be able to convert several of the opportunities they created late on in the game. In fact, neither side was able to score in the final half hour or so - although not for lack of effort.
Full time: Saracens Storm 30-15 Bath United