So much heart and determination but heartbreak at the end of Bath Rugby v Exeter Chiefs meant the visitors snatched a 23-16 victory at the Rec.
Defensively, the Blue, Black and Whites put in their best display of the season and were extremely physical in the tackle and at the set piece, spoiling several Exeter line-outs and winning penalties at scrum time.
One of the scrum penalties helped Bath march deep into Chiefs territory and a perfect throw from Tom Dunn provided the platform for a tight, fast-moving maul which Miles Reid benefitted from, diving over the line much to the delight of the home crowd.
Over 14,000 fans were at the Rec and roared their team on to a brilliant first half effort, cheering every breakdown moment, every tackle and every break.
They were particularly fond of Orlando Bailey’s kicking with the young Academy fly-half kicking a fantastic penalty from out wide as well as a successful banana-like attempt from the touchline.
Henry Slade kicked two penalties for Exeter which made the score 10-6 at half-time and the visitors edged ahead with a converted try from Josh Iosefa-Scott early in the second half.
Two Bailey kicks put Bath back ahead going into the final stages and Stuart Hooper’s men put their bodies on the line to thwart Exeter’s numerous carries close to the line.
Exeter eventually broke the Bath resolve as Sam Simmonds picked from the base of the scrum to power underneath the posts and his brother Joe hit a last-minute penalty to confirm a 23-16 scoreline.
Not the result Bath wanted but a massive sign of progression and a step in the right direction.