A young inexperienced Bath Rugby side beat the Cornish All Blacks 38-27 at Polston Bridge on Saturday holding off a second-half fightback from Launceston.
Bath opened the scoring in the 7th minute with Samoan lock Jonny Faamatuainu sidestepping his marker and then proceeding to run thirty meters or so to score beneath the posts. George Hughes hit a successful conversion.
In the 19th minute Bath scored again. A fantastic run from Gary Holmes culminated in Matt Perry diving over in the corner. Hughes missed the conversion this time from far out on the left. Bath were 12-0 up.
Launceston then managed to put together a series of phases and clawed their way up the pitch, the resulting pressure nearly resulted in a try after a break down Bath's right wing. Only a desperate tackle from Joe Maddock stopped Launceston going over the whitewash.
A minute later though a poor attempted pop pass by Launceston in attack saw George Hughes capitalize on the error and outpace the opposition's defense to score in the corner. A missed conversion saw Bath take a 17-0 lead.
Moments later, Mike Mangeolles then exposed the Launceston defense once more, finding a gap and touching down between the posts. Hughes hit the conversion.
In the 35th minute the one-way traffic continued with James Scaysbrook claiming the blue, black and whites fifth try.
Launceston finally responded at the end of the half. Sustained pressure from the Cornish sides pack resulted in a well earned try and also wrote the script for the second half.
Bath went into half-time 31-5 up.
Three minutes into the new half and despite Bath pressure, a dropped ball was hacked ahead by Mark Sweeney (scorer of Launceston's earlier try) and he outpaced Matt Perry to score his second try.
Bath's young scrum were struggling against a more mature and experienced opposition. The pressure came to a head in the 47th minute when Launceston scored again, claiming a push-over try in the corner. This time the Launceston fly-half hit a successful conversion. It was now 31-17.
A series of substitutions further lowered the average age of the Bath side and Launceston used this to their advantage scoring two more tries and getting closer and closer to Bath's lead reducing the score to 31-27.
Just as it looked like Launceston would overhaul Bath, the visitors managed to reassert their first half presence and finished the game with sustained pressure in the Launceston line and from a line-out, the ball found its way to second-half substitute Blayne Shreeve who darted over the line to score. Shreeve then converted his own try.
Bath won the game 38-27 but Launceston should be given credit for coming back into the game and pushing Bath Rugby all the way despite being so far behind at half-time.
Bath Rugby: M Perry, Banahan (C. Perry, 80), Maddock (Shreeve, 50), Mangeolles, Cuthbert (Davey, 40), Hughes, Travagli (Depledge, 80); Ovens, Ward (Brooker, 40), Jarvis, Smith, Faamatuainu (Bye, 63), Scaysbrook, Miller, Holmes