A spirited second half come back by Scarlets proved too strong for Bath Rugby as they ran out 44-21 winners in the Anglo Welsh Cup on a chilly Friday night in South Wales.
It was the home side who started the game the brightest, going straight on the attack. After an early penalty was conceded, it wasn’t long before Dan Jones had his first opportunity to score some points from the kicking tee. The young fly-half made no mistake and Scarlets led 3-0.
As Bath struggled to impose themselves on the game, Scarlets had yet another chance to add to their points tally early on and Jones knocked over another penalty. 6-0.
After replacing Tom Homer midway through the first half, Adam Hastings immediately made an impact on the game as he looked to galvanise his side who until this point, couldn’t really click into gear after strong attacking pressure from Scarlets.
His mazy run was rewarded with a penalty which former Scarlets fly-half, Rhys Priestland knocked deep into the Scarlets 22. Garvey rose high to claim the line out and Max Lahiff was on hand to power over from close range. Priestland landed the tricky touchline conversion and Bath led 6-7.
Capitalising on the momentum, Bath went straight back on the attack, Williams with a lovely run that split the defence before being caught just short of the line. Lahiff was again on hand though to barge over for the try and leave Priestland with an easy conversion. 6-14
From the restart, Bath conceded the penalty and Jones kicked for goal to keep the home side within touching distance. However, Scarlets were to concede their own penalty from the following restart and rather than going for goal, Priestland once again kicked the ball to touch.
This time the ball was sent wide and Jeff Williams was on the end of a lovely looping pass by Dan Bowden to dive over and Priestland added the extras. 9-21
Half-time score: Scarlets 9 21 Bath Rugby
Bath started the second half brightly, an early penalty opportunity sent the ball to touch again but efforts were in vain and Scarlets cleared the ball.
From that, the visitors rarely threatened the home side in the second half, instead Scarlets enjoyed wave after wave of attack. Eventually the pressure told and flanker Josh Macleod scored. Jones once again accurate from the tee. 16-21
Buoyed on by the home support, Scarlets were growing in confidence and momentum meaning it wasn't long before they scored again through Tom Phillips. Jones’ conversion nudged Scarlets back into the lead with 15 minutes left to play. 23-21
On his return to Parc Y Scarlets, Rhys Priestland was sin-binned for what the referee judged to be a dangerous tackle on his opposite number Jones, and with Scarlets pressure already building, they made the extra man advantage count.
The driving maul which was a tactic that worked so well for Bath in the first half was now their undoing, as Scarlets gathered a well taken line-out to rumble towards the Bath try line. Jack Condy was the last man to emerge as the scorer and Jones, who enjoyed a faultless night with the boot, converted to put day light between the two teams. 30-21
Another kick to the corner and another rolling maul led to Scarlets, Emyr Phillips scoring his sides fourth try and with Jones adding the conversion, victory was now beyond doubt. 37-21
In the dying moments, Scarlets still attacked and flanker Jack Condy raced away for his second and Scarlets fifth try. Jones converted in what was to be the final action of the half meaning the Rag Doll, traditionally contested between two sides will remain in Wales until the next time.
Full-time score: Scarlets 44 21 Bath Rugby