Bath Rugby Under-18s earned a second win in a row as they defeated a decent London Irish Under-18s side 19-14 at Chippenham RFC.
In a competitive first half, Arthur Green and Sam Harris crossed for the junior Blue, Black and Whites who went into half-time two points adrift following a strong Exiles comeback.
But a positive defensive display in the second period allowed Bath to clinch victory with George Timmins grabbing the all-important try.
Bath began a frosty contest with impressive phase play and their attacking intent forced Irish to concede an offside penalty which was duly nudged to the corner. From there, the forwards took control and a powerful maul led to replacement Number 8 Green dotting down on his return from injury.
A similar tactic almost resulted in further joy for the hosts but London Irish were wise to the power game, thwarting a fast-moving trundle towards success. However, Bath were aware of the stoppage and moved quickly to the short side – the backs linking up nicely with Harris proving the beneficiary.
At 12-0, Irish came back into the game with a line-out error leading to a turnover which resulted in outside centre Alex Enright scoring, and they completed their comeback to take the lead – fly-half Rory Taylor claiming the finish.
Just before the interval, the visitors had a promising opportunity to extend their advantage. Putting a lot of pressure close to the Bath line, Nathan Catt and Louis Messer’s team held firm with fantastic defence.
That is the way they defended for the remainder of the match too, following a half-time message to be physical in the opening stages of the second period.
Their strength in contact proved crucial as back row Timmins profited from another maul.
Towards the end, Irish held a lot of the ball in search of the score that would at least see them draw level. They moved the ball well to the fringes, but Bath’s resolute set-up kept them out to seal victory.
“It was really physical battle and the boys had to show high levels of resilience to come out on top,” Academy Manager Craig Lilley.
“The whole squad displayed quality throughout the match. Billy Sela was immense on the gainline with his carrying and defensive shots. George Timmins worked tirelessly and put in a huge effort for the team. It as also great to see Arthur Green come back from injury and play to a high level.
“Raff Weston deserves credit for managing the game well. His exit game was good throughout and it’s great to see it developing. Rory Crum came in late for Will Parry and as a 17-year-old against a team that like to push the ball wide, we were pleased with his defensive efforts to contain them.
“It’s much easier to analyse ourselves after a win and there are a number of facets we need to improve. However, I’m extremely proud of the boys for staying in the fight and coming out with the result. The win gives them massive momentum going into Harlequins.”
BATH RUGBY U18 SIDE V LONDON IRISH U18
15 James Redman (Beechen Cliff School | Walcot RFC)
14 Byron Lloyd-Gilmour (Marlborough College | Salisbury RFC)
13 Rory Crum (Beechen Cliff School | Bournemouth RFC)
12 Sam Harris (Millfield School | Hertford RFC)
11 Max Ashton (Beechen Cliff School | Chippenham RFC)
10 Raff Weston (Beechen Cliff School | Walcot RFC)
9 Ieuan Davies (Millfield School | Neath Athletic RFC)
1 Tom Hill (Wells Cathedral School | Wells RFC)
2 Max Pearce (Millfield School | Chippenham RFC)
3 Billy Sela (Beechen Cliff School | Royal Wootton Bassett RFC)
4 Eddie Erskine (Millfield School | Dorchester RFC)
5 Will Jeanes © (Beechen Cliff School | Taunton RFC)
6 Jack Haythornthwaite (Beechen Cliff School | Chew Valley RFC)
7 George Timmins (Millfield School | Market Harborough RFC)
8 Max Jenkins (Millfield School | Reeds Weybridge RFC)
16 Tommy McLean (Beechen Cliff School | Bath RFC)
17 Scott Kirk
18 Ellis Baker (Millfield School | Arabian Knights RFC)
19 Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al Kareen (Downside School | North Dorset RFC)
20 Arthur Green (Sherborne School | Frome RFC)
21 Sam Curwen (Millfield School)
22 Harry Carson (Millfield School)
23 Kamoto Kamanga-Dyrbak (Millfield School | KCB Kenya)