Harlequins recorded a narrow 19-27 victory over Bath Rugby in the first round of the Premiership Rugby Cup at the Rec.
It was the home side who got the first points on the board after 13 minutes, with Jack Walker scoring the opening try. After conceding a host of penalties in their 22, Harlequins were reduced to 14 men, with Stan South bring down a rolling maul close to his own line. Bath persisted with the catch and drive, and their patience was rewarded with Walker crossing the whitewash. Alex Davies was unable to add the conversion. [5-0]
The visitors hit back five minutes later through the boot of Demetri Catrakilis, who took his side back within two. The fly-half was back amongst the points six minutes later with another successful penalty attempt. [5-6]
Bath continued to test the resolve of the Harlequins defence and nearly found their way over the try line for a second time with 10 minutes to play in the first half. Despite going over the line, Harlequins managed to stand firm as they held the Blue, Black and White over the line.
With the clock drifting into the final 30 seconds of the half, it was Harlequins who increased their lead. After taking a quick free-kick, Harlequins went for a counter attack out wide. Alex Dombrandt found full-back Aaron Morris with a clever offload, and the full-back put a grubber kick into space. Charlie Walker was the quickest in the chase, as the winger pounced on the ball over the try line to send his side into the interval with a six-point lead.
Half-time - Bath Rugby 5-11 Harlequins
Harlequins continued to gather momentum in the second half and increased their advantage on 44 minutes. The visitors progressed through the phases in the Bath 22 before Dombrandt cut through the Bath defence to finish under the posts. Catrakilis added the conversion to put his side in firm control on the scoreboard. [5-18]
Catrakilis was back in action 13 minutes later, adding a further three points to his tally following a high tackle from the Bath defence. [5-21]
Bath continued to plug away in attack and reduced arrears with just under 15 minutes to play at the Rec. After Dombrandt was sent to the sin-bin, Bath continued to gather momentum with the catch and drive, a strong point throughout the game. Their efforts were rewarded, as Ross Batty went over from the rolling maul. Davies made it a seven-point score to take the score to 12-21.
The prolific Catrakilis continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with another three points, to leave Bath two scores adrift going into the final 10 minutes. [12-24]
The hosts, didn’t give up however and moments later Batty added his second of the game. In what was almost a replica of his first effort, the hooker used his experience to dot down from another well-worked move from the pack. Bath close the gap further with a successful conversion making it a five-point difference. [19-24]
Harlequins closed out the game in the closing stages, with James Lang putting his side out of reach with four minutes to play slotting a straight forward penalty from in front of the posts. [19-27]
Bath will now travel to Sandy Park next weekend to face Exeter Chiefs in the second round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Full-time – Bath Rugby 19-27 Harlequins
Premiership Rugby Cup
27 October 2018
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Half Time score: 5-11
- Tries: Walker (13), Batty (65, 72)
- Conversions: Davies (66, 73)
- Tries: Walker (39), Dombrandt (43)
- Conversions: Catrakilis (44)
- Penalties: Catrakilis (17, 23, 56, 69), Lang (75)