Frustrated Bath just miss out at The Stoop

Bath suffered an agonising defeat against Harlequins after Nick Evans converted Nick Easter's last-minute try at the Twickenham Stoop.

Shontayne Hape's 76th-minute try looked to have won the game for Bath, before Quins set up camp on the Bath line during a lengthy spell of injury time.

And it was in the final minute of injury time that Easter burrowed over - a score that had to be confirmed by the television official - that Quins broke Bath hearts, with Evans converting to give the Londoners their first victory of the season.

Bath had led the match from the seventh minute until the 74th, when Evans - who had earlier missed two penalties - made it 6-6.

Nicky Little could not convert Hape's try - but Bath still led 11-6 heading into the final three minutes, only for Quins to stage a dramatic late recovery.

Bath head coach Steve Meehan said: "The fact of the matter is we are a little frustrated and tired of games coming down the wire and not finishing them off.
"I saw some courageous actions out there - and a great work ethic - but we have to make better decisions and we have to apply ourselves better."

Bath led 6-3 at half-time after a relatively low-key opening 40 minutes - but could have been further ahead after enjoying the better of the early chances.

The visitors went in front after seven minutes, Little landing a 45-metre penalty after Quins were caught offside.

The Fijian fly-half - who played despite the imminent birth of his first child in Manchester - doubled Bath's advantage on 10 minutes with another penalty after Quins were penalised for entering a ruck from the side.

Nick Abendanon carried the ball from one 22 to the other as Bath threatened, but it was the home side who scored next, Evans landing a penalty after the visitors were penalised at a ruck.

A promising Bath attack was halted when Little's pass to Julian Salvi was judged to have gone forward, before Evans missed an opportunity to draw his side level when he was off-target with a 40-metre penalty.

But Bath ended the half on top - and came within a metre or so of scoring the first try of the evening in the final minute of the opening period.

A well-worked line-out found Little, who ran 20 metres into Quins territory before selflessly shipping possession to Matt Carraro. The Australian, back in the side after a thumb injury, looked poised to strike - but was tackled one metre short of the line by Ugo Monye.

Monye then displayed his attacking threat as Quins created the first major chance of the second period, chipping over the top and putting Bath under pressure before seeing his side penalised for a knock-on against Gonzalo Tiesi.

Evans missed a second penalty as Quins cranked up the pressure, before Abendanon was forced to make a try-saving tackle on replacement Gonzalo Camacho.
Evans eventually drew Quins level - but they were only on level terms for two minutes.

Little found Hape, who ignored the man outside him and stepped inside two defenders to score what appeared to be the match-winning try.

Little missed the conversion - but Quins looked to have blown their chance of victory when Rory Clegg dropped a pass from Tom Guest with the line in sight.

However, Bath failed to keep the ball following a scrum with one minute to play - and when Ben Skirving was penalised for holding on, Quins were able to build the platform from which they eventually won the match.

Bath were reduced to 14 men a few minutes later when Skirving was yellow-carded for killing the ball - and Quins took full advantage.

Easter somehow tunnelled a route to the line - and when the television official confirmed the England back-rower had score, Evans knocked over the conversion to break Bath hearts.

Harlequins: M Brown; D Strettle, G Tiesi (R Clegg 70), T Masson, U Monye (G Camacho 54); N Evans, D Care; C Jones, G Botha (T Fuga 64), J Andress (J Johnston 61), L Stevenson, J Evans (S O'Connor 77), C Robshaw (T Guest 64), W Skinner (capt), N Easter (T Guest 34-40). Reps not used: A Croall, G Williams.
Scorers: Try - Easter. Con - Evans. Pens - Evans (2).

Bath Rugby: N Abendanon; J Maddock, M Carraro, S Hape, M Banahan (J Cuthbert 65); N Little, M Claassens (capt); D Flatman (D Barnes 55), P Dixon, D Bell, P Short (D Grewcock 55), S Hooper, A Beattie (J Fa'amatuainu 65), J Salvi (J Fa'amatuainu 29-40), B Skirving. Reps not used: R Hawkins, A Jarvis, S Bemand, R Davis.

Scorers: Try - Hape. Pens - Little (2).

Sin-binned: Skirving (80).

Referee: W Barnes. Att: 11,203.

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