University of Bath secured their way into the semi-finals of the BUCS Super League Championship following an emphatic 64-29 victory over Durham University last night at the Sports Training Village, Bath.
Durham took the early lead courtesy of a penalty, which was soon followed by an impressive score from visitors, giving them an eight-point buffer after 11 minutes. [0-8]
The hosts hit back after 17 minutes with a well-executed catch and drive. Bath piled in the numbers, which gave the momentum before Bath Rugby’s Tom Doughty bundled his way over to score from the back of the maul. Wil Partington added the extras from the tee. [7-8]
The home side got in front on the scoreboard, with another rolling maul causing problems once again for the visitors. After pulling the maul down, the referee ran running under the sticks to signal the penalty try. [14-8]
Doughty was on hand to extend his side’s lead with the third score on 27 minutes. It came in almost identical fashion of his earlier score, the captain touched down for his second following another dominant forward move. Partington’s kick from out wide sailed through the uprights. [21-8]
The gap continued to increase, with prop Austin Hay getting amongst the points. Following several phases, Bath’s patience was rewarded with Hay powering over from close range. Partington added the conversion to take the unanswered points tally to 28. [28-8]
Durham reduced their deficit on the stroke of half-time, as they scored their second of the half. The successful conversion brought Durham to within 13 points, making it all to play for in the second half. [28-15]
Half-time – University of Bath 28-15 Durham University
University of Bath got the second half off to a flying start with their fifth try of the evening. A clever offload just outside the opposition 22 found Will Hughes, and the winger miraculously held on to the ball, before showing his turn of pace to shake of a Durham defender to finish. Partington nudged over the subsequent conversion. [35-15]
Another exceptional score was soon to follow, with the Bath Rugby duo of Partington and Ethan Hutt combining in style. Partington made the initial break inside his own 22 before offloading to Hutt on the left wing. The winger charged down the touchline before finding Partington on his inside shoulder, who completed the length of the field cross the whitewash, with just over 30 minutes left on the clock. [40-15]
Durham got one back, after some good phase play, which put them within three scores. [40-22]
University of Bath’s rolling maul continued to work wonders, and replacement hooker James Hadfield was on the back of the next two mauls, crossing twice in 10 minutes. [52-22]
After losing the last two games against Durham, Bath were not going to relinquish their lead. After some brilliance in the build-up, Partington spotted a gap in the Durham defence and finished off his second and his side’s ninth try of the evening. [57-22]
Despite the result being all but secured for the University of Bath, Durham kept the pressure on right until the end. It paid its dividends five minutes from time as the visitors crossed for what would be a consolation try. [57-29]
It was fitting that Bath had the final say in the match, with Hadfield making it a hat-trick from close range. Partington converted the try to give Bath a 64-29 victory.
University of Bath will now travel to Hartpury for the semi-final clash next week with the hope of securing a spot in the final at Twickenham.
Full-time – University of Bath 64-29 Durham University