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United fail to weather Storm

A closely-fought contest between Bath United and Saracens Storm at the Rec tonight ended with the visitors stealing a 22-27 win at the death.

United had failed with their first shot at a driving maul in the opening minutes, but in the seventh they made no such mistake: piling over the Storm tryline, openside Max Northcote-Green touched down for the first try of the match. Fly-half Ollie Devoto converted. 7-0.

The home side were tackling like men possessed, but when they failed to roll away at a ruck ten minutes in, it allowed Storm scrum-half Ben Spencer to earn his side their first points. 7-3.

That Storm penalty was boosted at the end of the first quarter by their captain Mario Itoje, the second row galloping through United’s lapsed defence and offloading to set up the try for Spencer under the posts. The nine converted his own try for a 7-10 lead.

On the half hour, Mordt put in a deft crossfield kick to allow wing Jack Wilson to go over largely untroubled for Storm’s second try, which Spencer again converted. 7-17.

Storm wasted little time in coming straight back at United, with openside Matt Hankin outpacing the covering defender to touch down. This time, Spencer was off with his kick. 7-22.

At the moment United needed some encouragement the most, a good penalty kick from Devoto brought them back into the match just ahead of the half-time whistle.

Half time: Bath United 10 – 22 Saracens Storm

Storm were determined not to let United back in within the third quarter, but replacement hooker Tom Dunn had other ideas. His surge up the left wing saw the ball come back infield, where United were held up on the tryline, before tighthead Kane Palma-Newport dabbed the ball down. United had missed the conversion, but the try had slimmed Storm’s lead to a converted try.

Five minutes from time, it was just that which Dunn gave his side following a rolling maul from United from which the hooker peeled away to score their third try.

Replacement scrum-half Will Homer’s successful conversion was a delight for home supporters to watch, and it was now 22-22 with only minutes remaining in the game.

As it was, from outside the United 22, Mordt found himself in an identical to position to where he had been almost 50 minutes earlier: putting in a gentle crossfield kick for Wilson to score with ease and win the match.

Final score: Bath United 22 – 27 Saracens Storm

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