Homegrown Gabriel Hamer-Webb and new recruit Lewis Boyce both made their starting debuts at the Rec in the 7-18 defeat against Leicester Tigers in the third round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Leicester controlled possession in the first half scoring two tries and whilst Bath remained focused it was the visitors who capitalised on their opportunities.
Bath had the first scoring opportunity after five minutes, with Freddie Burns attempting a long-range shot at goal. However, the fly-half’s penalty drifted wide to leave the scores level. [0-0]
With 14 minutes on the clock, Leicester got the first points of the game after Bath were penalised for coming in at the side at the breakdown. Tom Hardwick made no mistake from the tee to give his side the lead. [0-3]
Five minutes later Tigers added to their tally when Greg Bateman made a clean break through the Bath defence to setup a scoring opportunity. The loosehead prop found Tommy Reffell in support and the back rower having the simple task of touching down under the posts. Hardwick hit the post with the conversion, to leave his side eight points in front. [0-8]
The visitors showed little remorse controlling the possession and their persistence paid off with 13 minutes remaining in the half. It was Ben White, who scored Tigers’ second of the afternoon, as the scrum-half defied the best efforts of the Bath defence to wriggle his way over. Hardwick added the extras to extend his side’s advantage. [0-15]
Bath nearly found their way in for a score of their own shortly before half-time. Josh Bayliss
made a superb jinking run from his own half up into the Tigers’ 22. However, Bath’s progress from the resulting penalty was halted, with referee Andrew Jackson blowing for an infringement at the maul five metres short of the try line.
Half-time – Bath Rugby 0-15 Leicester Tigers
The momentum shifted after the half-time team talks, as Levi Davis continued his rich vein of form scoring his third try in as many weeks. Following some strong pressure in defence, Davis capitalised as the winger jumped into the line to intercept a pass. Leicester had no answer to Davis’ pace, as the 21 year-old ran in from inside his own half to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard. Replacement Rhys Priestland added the extras. [7-15]
With just under 30 minutes to play, Leicester were reduced to 14 men, as Tatfu Polota-Nau was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Will Chudley.
Bath continued to search out a second try spending large parts of the second half in the opposition territory. However, the visitors managed to withstand sustained pressure with some resolute defence.
With 10 minutes remaining, Bath managed to break through the defensive line, as Tom Homer charged through from halfway. The full-back found Davis in support, but the winger was unable to find his earlier burst of pace, as he went down in the 22 clutching his hamstring.
As a result, Davis was forced to leave the field, meaning both sides had to play out the final stages with 14 men.
Tom Hardwick put the result beyond doubt with a drop goal to ensure the points went back to Welford Road.
Full-time – Bath Rugby 7-18 Leicester Tigers
Premiership Rugby Cup
5 October 2019
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Half Time score: 0-15
- Tries: Davis (44)
- Conversions: Priestland (45)
- Tries: Reffell (17), White (26)
- Conversions: Hardwick (27)
- Penalties: Hardwick (13)
- Drop goals: Hardwick (79)