Bath Rugby fought hard but were beaten 52-44 by an unrelenting Wasps side in Round 6 of the Gallagher Premiership on Friday evening.
Rhys Priestland amassed 26 points of the Blue, Black and White's tally but it wasn't enough to bring down Lee Blackett's in-form side.
Bath Rugby got off to the perfect start with an early score. After just four minutes Priestland drew first blood with an epic try out wide. The fly-half was beneficiary from a well worked Tom de Glanville run as the young full-back set the move. Priestland then found the gap and gassed the defending line to score in the corner.
After twelve minutes Bath found themselves 13 points to nil on the scoreboard before Wasps opened their account. A penalty try came from a collapsed maul, which saw Captain Charlie Ewels shown a yellow card by referee Matthew Carley.
But as the pendulum swung in the early exchanges, it was the Blue, Black and White who struck again after 19 minutes, this time through Sam Underhill. The flanker reacted quickest to find a gap in the Wasps defence after receiving a timely offload from Taulupe Faletau.
Just a minute later from the restart, Wasps added their second of the game to keep the scoreline close, Paola Odogwu with the break before offloading to Robson, who found Cruse on his outside shoulder to dot down. Sopoaga converted to make the scoreline 20-14 to Bath Rugby.
Both fly-halfs then exchanged kicks at the posts with Rhys Priestland converting three to Sopoaga's one making it 29-17 after 36 minutes.
However Wasps had the last score of the half with replacement Brad Shields finding the whitewash. With a penalty taken quickly, Wasps went over after four phases of battering the Bath line. Shields finished the move and scored in the corner to bring the half to a close.
Wasps took off from where they let off, Cruse again going over for his second of the match just four minutes into the second-half. The hooker was fortunate and managed to pick up the loose ball and, went over untouched from close range. Sopoaga converted to give Wasps the lead.
Cameron Redpath then responded just 60 seconds later with a score, similar to Priestland's but the opposite end of the pitch. The young centre wrestled his way through two tackles and darted into the corner to close the gap.
Paolo Odogwu added a brace within seven minutes. His first came as he battled his way over with some powerful running. Lima Sopoaga added to the tally to put Wasps back in front, 38-36. His second came from good play from the visitors.
With nine minutes remaining, Spencer slotted a penalty to close the gap but a minute later, after consulting the TMO, Bassett touched down in the corner following a neat Umaga kick to the far corner.
After five minutes of overtime in the red, Elliott Stooke scored as Bath were rewarded for mounting pressure in the Wasps 22. After consecutive penalty infringements, Bath got their just rewards with an injury-time try from Stooke which resulted in a final score of 52-44.
PERFORMance of the match
Rhys Priestland won Pol Roger Performance of the Match after hauling 26-points against Wasps with a 100% record from the tee and scoring the first try of the game.
8 January 2021
Referee: Matthew Carley
Half Time score: 29-24
- Tries: Priestland (2), Underhill (17), Redpath (45), Stooke (85)
- Conversions: Priestland (4, 18, 47)
- Penalties: Priestland (6, 12, 25, 29, 36), Spencer (70)
- Tries: Cruse (19, 43), Shields (39), Odogwu (48, 54), Bassett (73)
- Conversions: Sopoaga (21, 40, 44, 49, 56, 74)
- Penalties: Sopoaga (31)