Lilley 'proper chuffed' with Academy performances

26 April 2021

Craig Lilley was extremely pleased to see things learned on the training pitch transferred into competitive action as Bath United earned back-to-back friendly wins over Gloucester United and Harlequins A.

The Academy Manager watched on as a mainly young group, interspersed with some experience, took to the field for valuable game time in a year which has seen so little opportunity for them to do so.

Gloucester were put to the sword in a six-try display which included a hat-trick from Tom Doughty – scores which were similar to the first team’s pattern of play – before the Blue, Black and Whites edged out Quins by a point on their visit to the Rec.

“I was proper chuffed with the boys,” Lilley said.

“Considering they haven’t had much game time going into it I thought they were outstanding.

"It was good because you had some experienced boys who came in and led it well and a load of young boys who were hungry for it. 

“What we spoke about before the games was we’ve got to get the nuts and bolts right around the set piece, around the way you exit, around the middle third… stuff we’ve been working on all year… and if you get that right then you’ll get your rewards. 

“It was nice to see us do the fundamentals of the game and then boys like Max and Gabe show their class when put into space.”

On the maul success, Lilley added: "They’ve worked both sides of the maul. They’ve defended a lot against the seniors and then had the opportunity to go out there and put it into place in terms of attack.

"The things they have learned on the training pitch they’ve been able to go out and execute which has been great to see."

In the second game against Harlequins, Bath were put under pressure in the early exchanges at scrum time and found USA international Paul Lasike a handful to deal with.

One of the most impressive displays of development led to Bath gaining the upper hand later in the game whilst also stopping Quins’ midfield threat at source.

“As soon as we denied their platform it allowed us to get back into the game,” Lilley explained.

"That’s the majority of the work we’ve been doing with them. It’s been around problem solving moments and at the set piece, understanding what they can do to get the ascendency. 

“To see that and get the opportunity for those guys to do that against Quins was awesome."

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