A young Bath United side fought to the end to record their first win of the season over a strong Worcester Cavaliers team, final score 31-29.
United started the game well, forcing an early penalty which fly-half Ed Hainsworth duly converted to give the hosts an early advantage.
They extended the lead five minutes later when a sudden break from Ben Loosmoore left him with a simple two on one with the fullback, allowing JJ Kilmartin to slip over in the left corner. 8-0.
Despite the Cavaliers being a much more experienced team, the first 10 minutes had been one-way traffic, with the visitors barely breaking out of their own half. Hainsworth extended the lead with another penalty soon after, as the Cavaliers were pinged for not releasing. 11-0.
United were attacking from the kick off, and some swift hands inside their 22 saw Kilmartin break the line. Searing pace from the young fullback left the defence in his wake, and with just a two on one in front of him, he released wing Richard Lane to cross the line. 16-0 after 20 minutes.
Worcester finally began to exert some pressure through their forwards, with a rolling maul seeing them drive into the Bath 22. Ollie Hayes broke off the back, and spotting a gap, the hooker dived over the whitewash. Tom Carlisle slotted the conversion. 16-7.
After 35 minutes and an infringement from Bath, Worcester kicked deep into the Bath half. The visiting forwards were proving a handful, and another driving maul gave Kai Horstmann the chance to break off the back and canter in to left hand corner. It was to be the last score of the half, and as the two sides went in for the break, Bath were up 16-12.
Following eight minutes of good defence from Bath at the start of the second half, visiting centre, Charlie Hayter took an enforced 10 minute break after tackling without using his arms.
A great break from replacement Toby May set replacement scrum-half, Mark McMillan, making his first appearance since being injured pre-Christmas, with a dash to the try-line only to be caught 2m short. Quick recycling saw the move kept alive though, and Tom Baldwin flopped over the line to the left of the uprights. 21-12.
United attacked straight from the kick-off, as more good hands set Lane bursting to the halfway line, only for the young wing to knock on. The resulting scrum saw Worcester break on the blindside, and Tom Arscott set off on a jinking run to finish under the posts. With the conversion, the visitors narrowed the gap to 21-19.
It was United’s turn to play with a man down after lock Nick Morris saw yellow for taking a player out in the air at the restart. With Bath down to seven in the pack Worcester forced a penalty at the scrum, which Carlisle slotted to edge Worcester into the lead for the first time. 21-22.
As Nick Morris joined the fray, so did replacements Josh Elliott, Tom Dunn and Will Clemesha. The fresh legs had an immediate effect, with United surging into the 22. After a number of phases, Hainsworth stepped up and slotted a drop goal to regain the lead. 24-22.
Continuing the running theme of the game, the Cavaliers came flying back from the restart and worked their way to within touching distance of the tryline, but the staunch Bath defence forced the knock on and allowed the home side to clear the lines with 10 minutes left of the game.
Moments later though, a missed tackle in the midfield allowed replacement prop James Curries to run in under the posts, and with the successful conversion, Worcester took the lead 24-29.
With just five minutes left, Bath exerted some excellent pressure. Despite being up against a bigger and more experience pack, Bath managed to bully the Worcester scrum and win a penalty against the head. They kicked for corner, forced another penalty and opted for the scrum five metres out. After yet another infringement, McMillan opted for the quick tap and the ball was recycled only for a Worcester player to end up on the wrong side and see yellow for his troubles.
With time up, the only option was another scrum five metres out, and Bath’s young pack proved dominant, with referee Luke Pearce awarding a penalty try. Replacement fly-half Freddie Gabbitass knocked over the conversion and sealed a fantastic victory for Bath United. Final score Bath United 31 Worcester Cavaliers 29.
15. Jamie John Kilmartin, 14. Alex Brown, 13. Ben Loosmoore, 12. Tosh Masson, 11. Richard Lane; 10. Ed Hainsworth, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Max Ashcroft, 2. Max Anderson, 3. Kane Palma-Newport (Capt), 4. Nick Morris, 5. Max Wilson, 6. Joe Buckle, 7. James Stephenson, 8. Tom Baldwin
16. Josh Elliott, 17. Tom Dunn, 18. Sam Weier, 19. Tom Ellis, 20. Mark McMillan, 21. Will Clemesha, 22. Freddie Gabbitass, 23. Isaac Weier, 24. Toby May, 25. Rob Payne
15 Ben Howard, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Charlie Hayter, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Josh Drauniniu; 10 Tom Carlisle, 9 Jonny Arr; 1 Ceri Jones, 2 Ollie Hayes, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Nile Dacres, 5 Ben Gulliver, 6 Adam Balding, 7 Neil Best, 8 Kai Horstmann (c)
16. Will Radburn, 17. Louis Padian, 18. James Currie, 19. James Clutterbuck, 20. Richard Muagututia, 21. Ollie Frost, 22. Ryan Furniss, 23. Barney Woods, 24. James Whybrow, 25. Caolyn Ryan