Christmas came early for Bath United against London Welsh tonight as the Aviva A League champions came away with a spectacular 14-52 victory.
Two minutes were on the clock when Welsh collapsed a scrum inside their 22. United fly-half Ollie Devoto kicked to the corner and after two phases of play across the field, openside Guy Mercer bounced off the defender to score near the posts. Devoto converted for a 0-7 lead.
Led by big ball carriers in captain Charlie Ewels and Carl Fearns, United edged closer and closer to the Welsh line in the 10th minute, before scrum-half Will Homer stretched over for his side’s second try. Again, Devoto added the extras. 0-14.
As the first quarter was drawing to an end, United were awarded a penalty in a plum position: just outside the Welsh 22 and in front of the posts. Devoto needed little power to send the ball through the sticks. 0-17.
After 24 minutes, Will Spencer was shown a yellow card for what the referee deemed to be repeated infringements at the breakdown. No sooner had the lock departed than the Exiles had powered over for their first try through tighthead Jack Gilding. Fly-half Will Robinson’s impressive conversion from out wide made it 7-17.
The Exiles further profited from their numerical advantage shortly after their opening try, with centre James Tincknell managing to haul himself over under the posts after a good initial break through United’s defensive line. Converted by Robinson, the score was now 14-17.
United hooker Tom Dunn then scored perhaps the quickest responding try in A League history, led in by inside centre Marcus Beer straight from the restart. Devoto made it four from four shots at goal. 14-24.
Half Time: London Welsh 14 – 24 Bath United
Both sides went close to scoring in the opening stages of the second half, but neither succeeded in doing so until the 53rd minute: a dazzling effort from Olly Woodburn, the outside centre cutting through on halfway and chip-and-chasing to touch down. Homer’s conversion from the touchline was a sight to behold. 14-31.
The scrum-half kicked a near-identical conversion on 57 minutes, this time following a Rich Lane effort. 14-38. Perhaps more impressively, Homer did precisely the same thing from the opposite touchline after Beer had scored down the right wing. 14-45.
Could he make it four in a row from such a distance, though? That question was answered emphatically when, with time already up, replacement wing Kristian Otto raced in from far out to dab down a kick-through ball.
Final Score: London Welsh 14 – 52 Bath United