Bath Rugby rallied late on but couldn’t quite force a comeback against Wasps, losing 27-17 at the Rec in Round 7 of the Gallagher Premiership.
It was an extremely close first half with both teams showing great determination to be the dominant side.
Centre Max Clark was immense defensively in the opening stages but despite his last-ditch tackle on Josh Bassett, Wasps scored the first try through man mountain Vaea Fifita.
The Blue, Black and Whites raced up the field in response via a barnstorming Lewis Boyce and a couple of phases later, Academy fly-half Orlando Bailey kicked a penalty in front of the posts to get the hosts on the scoreboard.
Wasps’ veteran midfielder Jimmy Gopperth followed with a penalty of his own to make it 10-3 before a fantastic piece of play from Bath saw Tom de Glanville cross in the corner.
The full-back was sent galloping through a hole by a superb tip pass from Clark and he showed excellent speed to round Jacob Umaga and slide over. Bailey stepped up to the tee from a wide position and levelled the match with great precision.
Gopperth’s second penalty was the difference at the break as he made it 13-10 and the former Junior All Black was involved in a crucial moment in the match on 45 minutes.
Second row Mike Williams’ clearout on Gopperth unfortunately saw him sent off – thankfully the Wasps man was seen on his feet on the pitch after the game.
Moments later Gabriel Oghre crossed to extend Wasps’ lead and Tom Willis brushed the try line to ensure the points headed back to the CDS Arena.
Not to be downhearted, Bath carried hard, broke through on a number of occasions but couldn’t quite stick the final pass. Instead, Jonathan Joseph decided to put the ball to his boot and delivered a cross-kick towards Semesa Rokoduguni.
The wing claimed possession well above his head and somehow finished in the corner and Danny Cipriani’s brilliant touchline, drop-goal conversion set up a nail-biting finish as Bath searched for at least a losing bonus point.
Performance of the Match, de Glanville, sped down the left wing following a creative offload from Will Muir and he grubbered on but to no avail as Wasps held out.