Valiant Bath lose out to Cardiff

Bath gave a good account of themselves on Friday night but a try from Andrew Higgins and a penalty try awarded for a high tackle on Joe Maddock were unable to prevent Cardiff from claiming a 24-18 home win.

Early Bath pressure was rewarded with a penalty and fullback Jack Cuthbert was able to put Bath into a 3-0 lead.

The lead was short lived however with Cardiff soon scoring a try. Blues fly-half Nick Robinson put brother Jamie Robinson through the Bath defence, the centre then drew his man before offloading to flanker Maama Molitika who ran on to score underneath the posts. Cardiff fullback Ben Blair was on hand to hit an easy conversion.

The Blue nearly added to their previous score with another try when a chip behind the Bath defence nearly exposing Bath in their try area. Only last ditch covering from Cuthbert prevented a try.

Blair then extended Cardiff's lead with two penalties to take the score to 13-3. The last ten minutes of the half saw Bath continually attack the Blues line, but excellent defence kept the visitors from closing the score gap. Cuthbert did have one more attempt on goal just before the break, but he was unable to convert a kick from a difficult angle.

Early in the second half, Cuthbert was substituted for Tom Cheeseman for precautionary reasons after he was on the end of a jarring tackle.

Bath were rewarded with a penalty and an extra man in the 55th minute after blues centre Tom Shanklin was shown a yellow card for persistently putting his hands in the ruck. There was then a surprise for the Bath faithful with the appearance of Joe Maddock as kicker. The New Zealander got his Bath kicking record off to a good start, kicking the ball straight between the uprights. 13-6.

Maddock's effort was cancelled out two minutes later when Blair converted a penalty for the blues.

Maddock's night still had a few more twists in store. In the 64th minute, a brilliant turn of pace saw him set off on a mesmerising run before he was brought down by a high tackle by Jason Spice right on the try line. A penalty try was awarded but Spice was not personally penalised with a card. Maddock then had a simple conversion charged down in front of the posts, perhaps still suffering from the tackle inflicted on him moments earlier. 16-11.

After a missed penalty by Blair, Cardiff then took the game to Bath and blue, black and whites were lucky not concede a try on a few occasions. However the pressure soon told and the Blues scored from a scrum, with former Bath prop Taufa'ao Filise taking the ball over the whitewash.

In the closing exchanges of the match, the hard and powerful runs that winger Andrew Higgins had been making all match were rewarded after quick ball through slick hands enabled him to score. Shaun Berne's conversion cut the deficit to 21-18 before Blair was able to finish the game off with a successful penalty that was awarded after the sin-binning of Stuart Hooper.

Bath: Cuthbert (Cheeseman 44), Maddock, Crockett (capt), Hape, Higgins; Berne, Bemand; Flatman (Catt 62), Dixon, Bell (Jarvis 55), Short, Grewcock (Hooper 40), Beattie (Faamatuainu 48), Scaysbrook, Browne.

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