4th SEPTEMBER 2004 BATH V NORTHAMPTON
0 mins: Kick off by Bath Rugby
17 mins: Saints drop their jumper at the lineout, Grewcock penalised for pushing, Grayson penalty. Saints 3 Bath Rugby 0
19 mins: Saints backline offside between Saints ten metre line and 22, advantage comes to nothing, Malone’s penalty hits post
25 mins: Bath Rugby’s first promising attack after Spencer Davey’s strong run across the gainline followed by Brendon Daniel making good yardage. Play breaks down but referee White brings Bath back for a penalty incurred at the breakdown. Malone kicks the goal. Saints 3 Bath Rugby 3
30 mins: Bath Rugby have a promising attack snuffled out then Steve Borthwick has the ball ripped from his hands. Mark Robinson spots space on the blind and puts Wylie Human in at the corner. Grayson misses the touchline conversion. Saints 8 Bath Rugby 3
32 mins: Bath Rugby sub Scaysbrook for Lipman, Stevens for Barnes
35 mins: Martyn Wood intelligently uses the blind side and Spencer Davey puts in another very strong, determined run. Bath Rugby get close to the Saints’ line through James Scaysbrook and have extra men wide but Saints kill the ball at the beak down and concede the penalty which Malone kicks. Saints 8 Bath Rugby 6
38 mins: Bath Rugby again make a great break through Brendon Daniel, he offloads to Matt Perry who offloads in turn to Robbie Fleck. Fleck spills the pass, though, and Saints immediately counter. John Rudd gets the ball with nobody in front of him, he shows enough pace to score Saints second try from a Bath turnover. Grayson kicks the conversion. Saints 15 Bath Rugby 6
40(+3) mins: Bath Rugby almost get an opportunist try of their own as Chris Malone picks up a loose ball and goes, he feeds Scaysbrook who passes to Daniel but the cover defence force him off the pitch yards short of the line. Referee White blows for half time
Half Time: Saints 15 Bath Rugby 6
40 mins: Lipman returns for Scaysbrook, Fidler comes on for Borthwick who has to come off to comply with the EPS agreement. For Saints Ben Cohen comes on in place of Wylie Human
46 mins: Alex Crockett makes a good break and is supported by Matt Perry. Matt Stevens makes a typically bulldozing run through the middle and then Saints are penalised at the breakdown. Martyn Wood takes a quick tap and Saints make no effort to retire so Bath earn a further ten metres. Chris Malone kicks the penalty as Matt Lord comes on to replace Damien Browne for Saints. Saints 15 Bath Rugby 9
50 mins: Lee Mears replaces Jonathan Humphreys for Bath Rugby
52 mins: Bath Rugby pinch a lineout then make good yards with Brendon Daniel taking play into the Saints half. The Saints infringe at the break down again to give Malone a tough penalty chance just inside the Saints half. Malone pushes it just wide
54 mins: Saints make two changes with Drahm coming on for Grayson and Fox coming on for Seely
57 mins: Mark Robinson pinches the ball from Zak Feaunati at the base of the scrum as the Samoan looks to pick up, the Saints make a short break. On the second phase John Rudd makes a powerful run through the midfield then Saints recycle quickly and find some space on the left wing. The ball is passed back inside and Mark Tucker beats Martyn Wood to score. Drahm kicks the conversion and Howard comes on for Stcherbina. Saints 22 Bath Rugby 9
64 mins: Saints bring Robbie Morris on for Robbie Kempson and Mark Stcherbina returns for Johnny Howard
67 mins: After a period of concerted pressure by Bath Rugby on the Saints line, Saints turn the ball over through some wonderful defence. They show tremendous ambition in attacking from behind their own try line but they have an overlap and score a wonderful length of the field try through Bruce Reihana after the ball passes through several pairs of hands. Drahm kicks the conversion and Saints now have a bonus point. Delve comes on for Bath Rugby replacing Feaunati and Joe Maddock makes his debut coming on for Matt Perry. Saints 29 Bath Rugby 9
71 mins: Bath Rugby make another substitution as James Scaysbrook comes on for the second time, again replacing Michael Lipman
75 mins: Nick Walshe makes his Bath Rugby debut replacing Martyn Wood
78 mins: Johnny Howard comes on in place of Mark Robinson for the Saints
79 mins: Andy Beattie scores a late try for Bath Rugby, all of his own making. The ball squirted loose from a ruck, Beattie charged through and flattened the Saints player looking to pick the ball up. Beattie then picked up the ball to score. Malone misses the conversion. Saints 29 Bath Rugby 14
80 mins: David Barnes returns to the field as Duncan Bell comes off for Bath Rugby
80(+4) mins: Full Time
Saints 29 Bath Rugby 14
Bath Rugby: Matt Perry; Alex Crockett, Robbie Fleck, Spencer Davey, Brendon Daniel; Chris Malone, Martyn Wood; David Barnes, Jonathan Humphreys (c), Duncan Bell; Steve Borthwick, Danny Grewcock; Andy Beattie, Michael Lipman, Zak Feaunati
Subs: Nick Walshe, Lee Mears, Matt Stevens, Joe Maddock, James Scaysbrook, Gareth Delve, Rob Fidler
Northampton Saints: Bruce Reihana; John Rudd, Mark Tucker, Marc Stcherbina, Wylie Human; Paul Grayson, Mark Robinson; Tom Smith, Steve Thompson, Robbie Kempson; Selbourne Boome, Damien Brown; Andrew Blowers, Corne Krige (c), Grant Seely
Subs: Dan Richmond, Robbie Morris, Matt Lord, Darren Fox, Johnny Howard, Shane Drahm, Ben Cohen
Ref: Chris White
Touch Judges: Steve Savage, Stuart Terheege
18th SEPTEMBER 2004 WORCESTER V BATH
Bath Rugby raced into a 20-6 lead after 34 minutes after a solid opening to the game. Brendon Daniel’s interception try got things off and running whilst Olly Barkley – who had a strong showing on his return from an ankle injury – set up a well-worked try for Mike Tindall with a clever grubber through the defence.
However, Tindall was sin-binned late in the first half and Worcester began to claw their way back into the game. Despite having plenty of chances to put the game beyond reach. the visitors stuttered a little.
“It should have been a lot more comfortable for us,” explained Connolly. “I thought that we played some excellent rugby in the first twenty minutes and we also had plenty of chances to score throughout the game. At 20-6 up we had an opportunity to put the game beyond reach, but we simply did not convert those chances and allowed them to come back.”
Newly-promoted Worcester looked comfortable at Zurich Premiership level, and Connolly also paid tribute to what was a gutsy performance from the Warriors. “We certainly did not under – estimate Worcester at all. They are a very competitive side and will do well this year. Their line out was exceptional and they played with a lot of confidence and exposure. We never thought that we would win this one easily.”
The match was Olly Barkley’s first start of the season and Connolly was happy to single out his fly half for praise after the game. “I thought that Olly played very well. He had a good solid performance and contributed 16 points.”
With a first win now behind Bath Rugby, Connolly says that there is plenty to build upon for the next match against Quins at the Stoop on Saturday. “It was a game that we had to win, it was as simple as that,” he said. “The performance was not the most important thing. We are not as clinical as we were this time last season, but it is still a case of early days in the Zurich Premiership. Teams have peaks and troughs and we will be looking to step it up again against Quins.”
RESULT WORCESTER 26 BATH 22
16th OCTOBER 2004 BATH V WASPS
Despite a close finish set up by a try from replacement full back Chris Malone, it was the rush Wasps’ defence that was to frustrate the home side who could not find a way through for a score until late in the second half.
After the game John Connolly expressed his disappointment and attributed the loss in part to some poor mistakes. “At this level you tend to lose rugby matches rather than win them,” he said. “We lost this one due to the mistakes that we made today. We played most of the rugby in the game, but some of our skills and passing were poor.”
“Full credit to Wasps as they did well with so many players absent through injury. I expect that they will be really pleased with the win.”
With the Heineken Cup kicking off next weekend, Connolly said that his side were in reasonable shape for the competition but admitted that he would have been happier if his side had entered Europe with a better record in the Premiership.
“We have three wins, three losses and a draw from our games in the Zurich Premiership and we are not really satisfied with that. We have to re-gather for the Heineken Cup and the visit of Bourgoin next week. We will be working hard to eradicate those silly errors that cost us today.
RESULT BATH 16 WASPS 19
30th OCTOBER 2004 LEINSTER V BATH
On the face of it the home team won due to their greater invention out wide where Brian O’Driscoll, Denis Hickie and Gordon D’Arcy (before he was stretchered off with a groin injury, were supreme. However, the 30-11 score line did not completely befit a match where Bath Rugby dominated in terms of pressure, possession and territory.
“We were extremely disappointed,” explained Head Coach John Connolly after the game. “We were in the ascendancy in terms of possession and field position, but could just not finish off the chances that we created.
Losing South African international centre Robbie Fleck with a calf injury midway through the first half was a massive blow to the visitors who were forced into reshuffling the back line on several occasions in what was a bruising game. Replacement centre Spencer Davey was cut above both eyes, wing Alex Crockett was cut on the top of his head, whilst in the pack veteran campaigner Jonathan Humphreys also sustained a split above his eye.
“Losing Robbie was a big blow to us,” said Connolly. “We had to make one or two changes in the backs, but full credit to Leinster – they played well today.”
However the game was played in good spirits and where Bath Rugby struggled to get the game going behind a pretty solid forward platform, Leinster’s backs took full advantage of the scraps that they were fed.
Bath Rugby now move on to face Saracens in the Zurich Premiership on Saturday at Franklin’s Gardens (3pm)
9 mins: Holwell pen (3-0)
20 mins: Barkley pen (3-3)
27 mins: Hickie try, Holwell conversion (10-3)
30 mins: Crockett try (10-8)
45 mins: D’Arcy drop goal (13-8)
55 mins: Barkley pen (13-11)
56 mins: Holwell pen (16-11)
67 mins: D’Arcy try, Holwell conversion (23-11)
78 mins: Horgan try, Holwell conversion (30-11)
Referee: Nigel Williams (WRU)
RESULT LEINSTER11 BATH 30
6th NOVEMBER 2004 SARACENS V BATH
Frikkie Welsh was the star of the show weighing-in with two tries as the visitors scored four tries to collect a valuable bonus point. Mike Tindall and Andrew Higgins also scored tries.
Head Coach John Connolly said that he was pleased with the win. “I am extremely pleased that we have come away with a win and a bonus point, but I am not pleased with how we let Saracens back into the game. I guess that we sat back when we should have been pushing on.”
Debutant Welsh said, “It was a dream first game. The Zurich Premiership is extremely tough, the physicality is tougher than the Currie Cup, but the pace of the game is about the same. I enjoyed every moment.”
However there are fresh injury concerns as Andy Beattie left the field with a suspected torn calf muscle and winger Andrew Higgins sustained a suspected fractured jaw.
6 MINS: WELSH TRY, BARKLEY CON 0-7
12 MINS: VYVYAN TRY 5-7
16 MINS: KYDD TRY AND CON 12-7
21 MINS: MALONE PEN 12-10
24 MINS: KYDD PEN 15-10
32 MINS: HIGGINS TRY, MALONE CON 15-17
34 MINS: KYDD PEN 18-17
35 MINS: MALONE DG 18-20
39 MINS: MALONE PEN 18-23
45 MINS: WELSH TRY, MALONE CON 18-30
61 MINS: TINDALL TRY, MALONE CONVERSION 18-37
67 MINS: JACKSON TRY 23-37
74 MINS: RAULUNI TRY, JACKSON CON 30-37
Saracens: 15 Robbie Kydd, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Ben Johnston, 12 Dan Harris, 11 Tevita Vaikona, 10 Mark Barttholomeusz, 9 Moses Rauluni, 1 Kevin Yates, 2 Matt Cairns, 3 Ben Broster, 4 Kris Chesney, 5 Simon Raiwalui, 6 Taine Randell, 7 Dave Seymour, 8 Hugh Vyvyan (c).
Replacements: 16 Raphael Ibanez, 17 Nick Lloyd, 18 Ben Russell, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Moragn Williams, 21 Glen Jackson, 22 Paul Bailey.
Bath Rugby: 15 Olly Barkley, 14 Andrew Higgins (rep Daniel), 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Chris Malone 2p, 2c, dg, 9 Martyn Wood (rep Walshe), 1 David Barnes, 2 Jonathan Humphreys (c) (rep Mears), 3 Duncan Bell, 4 Steve Borthwick, 5 Danny Grewcock (rep Fidler blood), 6 Andy Beattie (rep Scaysbrook), 7 Michael Lipman, 8 Zak Feaunati.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Christian Loader, 18 James Scaysbrook, 19 Rob Fidler, 20 Brendon Daniel, 21 Nick Walshe, 22 Spencer Davey.
Referee: Sean Davey
RESULT SARACENS 37 BATH 30
13th NOVEMBER 2004 BATH V SALE
Bath Rugby scored two tries to record an excellent 27-13 victory over Zurich Premiership leaders Sale Sharks at the Recreation Ground.
With international call-ups and a plethora of injuries hampering selection, Head Coach John Connolly was relieved to have Matt Perry back fit again, whilst James Hudson and Rob Fidler deputised in the second row with James Scaysbrook making his first start of the season in the back row in for the stricken Andy Beattie. On the bench Joe Maddock returned after recovering from a long-standing hamstring problem. Mike Baxter was a late replacement for Martyn Wood on the bench after the scrum half sustained a hamstring pull.
For Sale injuries and call-ups also took their toll. Director of Rugby Philippe St. Andre was forced to bring in prop Seb Bozzi from Orrell, whilst former Gloucester and Wales fly half Bryon Hayward was pulled from retirement to help out old pal and Sale forwards coach Kingsley Jones.
It took the home side just five minutes to open the scoring through the impressive blindside James Scaysbrook. Some sustained pressure inside the Sale twenty-two allowed Brendon Daniel to put the flanker away for a score wide out. Barkley missed the resulting conversion, but Bath Rugby’s pressure was relentless as the Bath lineout dominated.
Olly Barkley made amends five minutes later with a routine penalty from in front of the posts to increase the lead and the home side were off to an excellent start. Bath continued to press and Matt Perry and Duncan Bell came close before Sale’s defeence, in their desperation, conceded another penalty opportunity to Barkley, who duly collected the three points on offer.
The game settled as Sale began to come back, but in their pursuit of a score, some poor passing in midfield allowed Alex Crockett the chance to latch on to a dropped ball to run in under the posts unopposed for a try that was converted by Barkley.
The manner in which Sale came back into the game from having no possession and very little territory in the game, was quite remarkable. Mike Hercus got the revival under way for the Zurich Premiership leaders with a penalty after Bath had lost concentration from the restart, before a loss in concentration gifted the visitors a try for Magnus Lund. Chris Malone, whose boot had been in fine form, found his kick charged down by the flanker who touched down under the posts unopposed. Hercus converted and Sale continued their comeback when Jonathan Humphreys was sin-binned and Hercus slotted over the resulting penalty to leave nerves jingling in the Bath camp at half time.
Whilst the home side struggled to haul themselves back from Humphreys’ sin-binning, some excellent defence kept a Sale side now brimming with confidence at bay. Having survived the sin-bin period, Bath regrouped and began to find their way back into the game. After some excellent play from Olly Barkley, Bath were awarded a penalty and Olly Barkley slotted over the points to increase the lead to eight points. Barkley then extended that lead in the seventy-fourth minute with another penalty after Sale were caught offside in midfield before adding a fifth one a minute later for the same indiscretion.
A plethora of substitutions hampered things in the final minutes as Bath gave debuts to Smith, Loader, Baxter and Lewis. The game failed to ignite once more, but Bath Rugby held out for a gritty victory.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry (Maddock), 14 Brendon Daniel, 13 Alex Crockett (1t), 12 Olly Barkley (1c, 5p), 11 Frikkie Welsh (Davey), 10 Chris Malone, 9 Nick Walshe (Baxter), 1 David Barnes, 2 Jonathan Humphreys © (yellow card) (Mears), 3 Duncan Bell (Loader), 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler (Smith), 6 James Scaysbrook (1t), 7 Michael Lipman (Lewis), 8 Zak Feaunati.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Christian Loader, 18 Dan Smith, 19 Geraint Lewis, 20 Joe Maddock, 21 Mike Baxter, 22 Spencer Davey.
Sale Sharks: 15 Robert Todd, 14 Chris Mayor, 13 Jos Baxendell (Wigglesworth) ©, 12 Chris Rhys-Jones, 11 James Moore, 10 Mike Hercus (1c, 2p), 9 Sililo Martens, 1 Stuart Turner (Bozzi), 2 Johnny Roddam, 3 Barry Stewart, 4 Christian Day, 5 Dean Schofield, 6 Chris Jones (Caillet) 7 Magnus Lund (1t) (yellow card), 8 Sebastein Chabel.
28th NOVEMBER 2004 BATH V LDN IRISH
Bath’s injury blight in recent weeks has been well documented, but despite having seven players absent through injury, the home side turned on the style in front of a sell-out 10,500 crowd.
The home side started well and after some wonderful runs by Frikkie Welsh and Alex Crockett, Olly Barkley was afforded the opportunity to put three points on the board after the Exiles were penalised at a scrum. The centre duly stepped up and converted the points to give Bath Rugby the lead in the nineteenth minute.
Barkley was to become the hero just one minute later when he crossed for the opening try of the game. Chris Malone’s towering up and under was dropped by Mark Mapletoft under pressure from Barkley, who hacked on and gathered wonderfully to score in the shadow of the posts. The England centre converted to give the home side a 10-0 advantage.
Irish hit back two minutes later when Mark Mapletoft landed a penalty from in front of the posts when Bath Rugby were caught offside in midfield. However, it was to be a short-lived resurgence as Bath Rugby scored a wonderful try from a lineout inside the Irish 22. Rob Fidler powered on from James Hudson’s clean take, before passing to Nick Walshe who set Zak Feaunati free for a try under the posts. Olly Barkley added the simple conversion.
Feaunati left the field moments later with his eye looking decisively closed-up to be replaced by returnee Gareth Delve, whilst Lipman made way for the in-form Scaysbrook after sustaining a knock to the shin. However, the changes had little disruption as Alex Crockett scored his side’s third try after some excellent work from Brendon Daniel and Matt Perry. Crockett, who has been a shining light at outside centre, beat Paul Hodgson to touch down in the corner for a superb try which was converted by Barkley.
Barkley had a hand in Irish’s only try of the first half when his speculative pass from a scrum deep in injury time was picked off by Justin Bishop who raced in from fifty minutes to score in the corner. Mapletoft missed with the conversion, but Irish had a glimmer of light.
Despite Bath Rugby’s best efforts, the only score of the second half came through an Olly Barkley penalty early on. Irish though refused to lie down and hit back through a late Ryan Strudwick try to give hope of a bonus point, whilst two long periods camped inside the Irish 22 were fruitless for the home side and Bath Rugby had to be content with the four points consolidating their fourth position in the table.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry, 14 Frikkie Welsh, 13 Alex Crockett (1t) (rep Maddock), 12 Olly Barkley (1t, 3c, 2p), 11 Brendon Daniel (rep Davey), 10 Chris Malone, 9 Nick Walshe (Wood), 1 David Barnes (rep Kok), 2 Jonathan Humphreys © (rep Mears), 3 Duncan Bell, 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler, 6 Andy Beattie, 7 Michael Lipman (rep Scaysbrook), 8 Zak Feaunati (1t) (rep Delve).
Reps: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Heinrich Kok, 18 James Scaysbrook, 19 Gareth Delve, 20 Martyn Wood, 21 Spencer Davey, 22 Joe Maddock.
London Irish: 15. Michael Horak*; 14. Justin Bishop*; 13. Geoff Appleford*; 12. Mark Mapletoft*; 11. Scott Staniforth*; 10. Mike Catt*; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Doug Wheatley; 2. David Paice; 3. Rob Hardwick*; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey* (captain); 6. Paul Gustard; 7. Declan Danaher; 8. Phil Murphy*.
Reps: 16. Adam Halsey; 17. James Van Der Walt; 18. Roland Reid*; 19. Ryan Strudwick; 20. Nils Mordt; 21. Darren Edwards; 22. Barry Everitt.
Cards: Reid (Irish)
Ref: David Rose
RESULT BATH 27 -LONDON IRISH 15
11th DECEMBER 2004 BATH V TREVISO
Five tries and twenty-two points from the boot of full back Olly wrapped up the victory which also secured an all important bonus point which will be crucial if they are to look for a place in the quarter-finals. It was a remarkable achievement considering the injury crisis that continues to mount at the Rec.
Such was the severity of Bath Rugby’s injury blight during the week that Head Coach John Connolly was unable to name a full squad of twenty-two players. England centre Mike Tindall headed up an extensive list of some fifteen players who are injured or unavailable for tomorrow’s game. David Flatman (Achilles), Robbie Fleck (calf), Chris Loader (ankle), Zak Feaunati (fractured eye socket), Danny Grewcock (back), Rob Hawkins (shoulder), Mike Tindall (shoulder and foot), Matt Perry (hamstring), Joe Maddock (hamstring), Martyn Wood (hamstring), Lee Best (groin), Jonathan Humphreys (heel) and Gareth Delve (foot) are all currently injured. Prop Heinrich Kok and Winger Frikkie Welsh are not registered for the Heineken Cup as they signed after the registration deadline.
With pride at stake, Bath Rugby came out in determined mood and took just three minutes to make their intentions clear when Olly Barkley stroked over a penalty after Treviso were penalised at the breakdown. Three points became six when full back Barkley added his second penalty of the afternoon six minutes later as Bath Rugby began to make use of their superiority up front to get into their stride.
Bath’s opening try was a gem. Following a five metre scrum, Chris Malone stood the ball up well for Andrew Higgins, who cut a beautiful angle to score under the posts. Barkley converted and added a third penalty shortly afterwards to extend the lead to thirteen points after Treviso were penalised yet again in a contact area where they were subjected to considerable pressure.
Bath’s second try was more about power. Olly Barkley looked to have made a hash of a simple overlap near the Treviso line, but after the ball was recycled, the Bath forwards drove over the line for a try and Andy Beattie emerged from the bottom of the pile to claim the score. Barkley added the conversion to give the home side a 23-0 advantage.
However, on the stroke of half time Treviso hit back. After a period of sustained pressure inside the Bath twenty-two, the Italians were awarded a penalty try after Bath were penalised at the scrum. Goosen added the simple conversion. It was a decision which clearly outraged the Bath players who appeared to have the better of the first half scrums and hookers Lee Mears and Fabio Ongaro were sent to the bin for the resulting dust-up.
After the interval, Bath took control and Barkley added a fourth penalty before Rob Fidler scythed through the Treviso defence to score a try under the posts that was converted by Barkley. Three tries became four and a bonus point was secured when Bath’s forwards drove Michael Lipman over the line to score a try that was converted by Barkley.
15 Olly Barkley (5c, 4p), 14 Andrew Higgins (1t), 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Spencer Davey (rep Baxter), 11 Brendon Daniel, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Nick Walshe (Scaysbrook), 1 David Barnes (Ovens), 2 Lee Mears (yellow card), 3 Matt Stevens (Bell), 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler (1t) (Borthwick), 6 Andy Beattie (Ward) (1t) (c), 7 Michael Lipman (1t), 8 Geraint Lewis
Reps: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Duncan Bell (1t), 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 James Scaysbrook, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Laurence Ovens.
15, Brendan Williams, 14, Tommaso Visentin, 18, Walter Pozzebon, 12, Marius Goosen, 11, Gonzalo Canale, 10, Franco Smith, 9, Alessandro Troncon (capt), 1, Gianluca Faliva, 2, Fabio Ongaro, 3, Salvatore Constanzo, 4, Gerhard Klerck, 5, Andrea Gritti, 6, Enrico Pavanello, 7, Silvio Orlando, 8, Scott Palmer.
Reps: 16, Alvaro Tejeda, 17, Juan Pablo Mauro, 18, Franco Sbaraglini, 19, David Dal Maso, 20, Sergio Parisse, 21, Simon Picone, 22, Stuart Legg.
Ref: Franck Marciello
27th DECEMBER 2004 SALE V BATH
John Connolly’s side come into the fixture on the back of four consecutive wins in the competition and are in good form at present in the domestic competitions. However, it is still an injury ravaged side that makes the journey north to face a Sale side that is at full strength following the return of internationals Cueto, Robinson, Hodgson, Titterell and Bruno.
“They have a great depth of international players,” said Head Coach Connolly yesterday. “They have two international loose heads, two international hookers, two international fly halves and an international back three. That’s not bad.”
BATH RUGBY: 15 MATT PERRY, 14 ANDY HIGGINS, 13 FRIKKIE WELSH, 12 OLLY BARKLEY, 11 BRENDON DANIEL, 10 CHRIS MALONE, 9 NICK WALSHE 1 DAVID BARNES, 2 JONATHAN HUMPHREYS (CAPT), 3 DUNCAN BELL, 4 STEVE BORTHWICK, 5 DANNY GREWCOCK, 6 ANDY BEATTIE, 7 MICHAEL LIPMAN, 8 ZAK FEAUNATI
REPLACEMENTS:16 LEE MEARS, 17 MATT STEVENS, 18 ROB FIDLER, 19 JAMES SCAYSBROOK, 20 ANDY WILLIAMS, 21 RYAN DAVIS, 22 JOE MADDOCK
SALE SHARKS: Jason Robinson, Mark Cueto, Jos Baxendell, Robert Todd, Steve Hanley, Charlie Hodgson, Sililo Martens, Andrew Sheridan, Sebastien Bruno, Barry Stewart, Dean Schofield, Chris Day, Jason White, John Carter, Sebastien Chabal.
Replacements From: Andy Titterrell, Stuart Turner, Johnny Roddam, Chris Jones, Peter Anglesea, Richard Wigglesworth, Mike Hercus, Chris Rhys Jones and Chris Mayor.
1st JANUARY 2005 BATH V SALE
Richard Haughton’s first half try proved to be the difference between the two sides as Bath Rugby struggled in difficult conditions at the Rec.
However there was one bright spark as Olly Barkley continued his remarkable kicking run with his 23rd and 24th consecutive sucessful kick at goal.
After the match Head Coach John Connolly said that he was disappointed with both the performance and the result. “You need momentum and we really did not get any going today,” he admitted. “We did not play at all well and we gifted them points at times. It was not a great game to watch, the conditions were poor and we are not very pleased with our performance.”
Thankfully there were no more injuries to report from the game as the club prepares for Saturday’s sell-out Heineken Cup Pool Two encounter against Leinster at the Rec (1pm)
RESULT BATH 6 SARACENS 13
15th JANUARY 2005 BOURGOIN V BATH
John Connolly’s men dominated the game up front where Rob Fidler and James Hudson were particularly impressive. Olly Barkley was again in form with the boot scoring ten points, whilst Rob Fidler and winger Michael Lipman were the try scorers.
2 mins; Olly Barkley pen 0-3
4 mins: Peclier drop goal 3-3
13 mins: Michael Lipman try, Olly Barkley conversion 10-3
20 mins: Chris Malone drop goal 13-3
29 mins: Olly Barkley pen 16-3
HALF TIME 16-3
47 mins: Janin try and Peclier con 16-10
53 mins: Rob Fidler try, Olly Barkley conversion 23-10
71 mins: Venditti try, Peclier con 23-17
Heineken Man of the Match: Rob Fidler
21st JANUARY 2005 SALE V BATH NO REORT
SALE 23 BATH 24
29th JANUARY 2005 WASPS V BATH
“It was a great win for the club,” he said in the post match press conference. “I think that it has lifted us into fourth and in touch with Sale and we needed the win after a couple of close defeats to Wasps. These matches are usually tight and I think that we kept our nerve well. We now have eight matches to go and five are at home.”
The foundations for the victory were laid due to an epic forward display and Connolly said that he was really pleased with the way his forwards took the game to Wasps. “I think that we had a good points decision in the scrums and edged the lineouts. Our defence was immense and I think that we handled them very well indeed.”
A game that brought no tries was not something that worried Connolly. He said that the game was all about the victory and was pleased to take the four points. “You play to win,” he explained. “I think that we played some good rugby at times and had a couple of decent breaks.”
RESULT WASPS 12 BATH 12
5th FEBRUARY 2005 BATH V LEICESTER
The England international flanker, who has been in impressive form this season, fell awkwardly at a maul in slippy conditions in the opening exchanges of a soggy match in Bath before being stretchered from the field and taken to hospital for X-rays. Lipman’s injury is a massive blow for John Connolly’s side whose injury list is probably the greatest in the Premiership these days.
Both sides were minus their international stars, but it was the weather that was to have the biggest impact. It had been raining in the West Country since mid morning and in tricky conditions the game got off to the worst possible start for the home side when Michael Lipman was forced out of the game.
On a night where every opportunity to kick at goal was going to be crucial, Andy Goode missed a penalty for the visitors before Chris Malone slotted over a kick after some pressure from the Bath forwards inside the Leicester half led to the Premiership leaders conceding a penalty.
Leicester’s response was almost immediate. Henry Tuilagi made a forceful break into the Bath half, but with the line beckoning the Leicester backs failed to make the last pass count and the home side were let off the hook. Leicester though were building and the Tigers soon capitalised when Andy Goode struck a drop goal to level the game in the 28th minute before giving Leicester the lead soon after when he landed a forty metre penalty.
Bath weathered the storm (quite literally) and came back into the game when Malone slotted over a second penalty after Beattie was judged to have been impeded by Martin Johnson after Malone fly-hacked on deep inside the Leicester half.
The second half provided some admirable moments of flair from both sides, but it was an evening for defences and for forwards. England A squad member Andy Higgins made a fine break after Martin Johnson’s poor ball retention inside the Bath twenty-two but as Bath began to get into the ascendancy Malone missed a difficult chance to give Bath the lead in the fiftieth minute with a long-range penalty and a further effort seven minutes later
Bath’s scrum has been nothing short of formidable in recent weeks and with a solid platform to work from the Bath forwards began to make their impact. However, centres Alex Crockett and Andy Higgins were forced from the field prompting a serious reshuffle in the back line and some of the impetus was lost for a while.
As the pitch began to resemble a ploughed field with every passing minute, the match became a lottery. However, the home side had to weather one last storm from the Leicester forwards to settle for a well-deserved draw.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry 9 *, 14 Andy Williams, 13 Andrew Higgins (Kieron Lewitt), 12 Alex Crockett (Tom Cheeseman), 11 Joe Maddock, 10 Chris Malone (2p), 9 Nick Walshe (Martyn Wood), 1 Matt Stevens *, 2 Lee Mears, 3 Duncan Bell (Chris Loader), 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler *, 6 Andy Beattie (capt), 7 Michael Lipman (James Scaysbrook rep Geraint Lewis)) *, 8 Zak Feaunati *
Reps: 16 Jonathan Humphreys *, 17 Chris Loader *, 18 James Scaysbrook, 19 Geraint Lewis, 20 Martyn Wood *, 21 Kieron Lewitt, 22 Tom Cheeseman
Leicester Tigers: 15. Sam Vesty, 14. , 13. Ollie Smith, 12. Daryl Gibson, 11. John Holtby, 10. Andy Goode (1p, 1dg), 9. Scott Bemand, 1. Michael Holford (Rawson), 2. George Chuter, 3. Darren Morriss, 4. Martin Johnson, 5. Louis Deacon, 6. Henry Tuilagi (Deacon), 7. Neil Back, 8. Will Johnson
Replacements: 16. Ephraim Taukafa, 17. John Rawson, 18 Brett Deacon, 19 Daniel Montagu, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Leon Lloyd, 22 Alex Tuilagi
Ref: Dave Rose (RFU)
RESULT BATH 6 LEICESTER 6
19th FEBRUARY 2005 GLOUCESTER V BATH
In a tight match where the lead swapped several times in blustery conditions, Bath looked to have the wrapped up the game with a fine second half performance during which Chris Malone landed two penalties and Duncan Bell and the outstanding Lee Mears had tries disallowed.
Gloucester’s late rally was a bitter blow, but with Olly Barkley withdrawing on the eve of the match with a calf strain and Andrew Higgins forced out after the warm-up, John Connolly acknowledged that his side had played with great spirit.
“I thought that we played some reasonable rugby at times,” he explained. “We have got a problem with injuries, but young Tom Cheesman and Ryan Davis did particularly well today against a very good Gloucester side. They are going to mature into outstanding footballers.”
GLOUCESTER 17 BATH 16
25th FEBRUARY 2005 BATH V HARLEQUINS
Leading 15-3 at the interval, a team missing twenty-three first team players ran out of steam against a Quins side that was searching for a victory to help maintain their Zurich Premiership status.
With a full squad of first team regulars missing through international duty or injury, Head Coach John Connolly was forced to ring the changes with South African Heinrich Kok making his first start at prop and new signings Steve Booth and Hugh Perrett named amongst the replacements where a certain David Flatman was a welcome inclusion having been given the all-clear to resume playing once more after nearly a year out with an Achilles tendon injury.
Further disruptions on match day morning saw Ryan Davis start after the club were given special dispensation to play the England under 21 star following Alex Crockett’s withdrawal left the centre cupboard at the Rec bare. Matt Perry was also a late withdrawal, handing Steve Booth his debut on the wing with Maddock moving to full back.
It was a lacklustre opening from both sides, but chances did materialise and Quins had the first opportunity when scrum half Steve So’oialo came close to scoring only to be hauled down close to the line and turned over in the process. Bath too had opportunities and after some good work from full back Joe Maddock and winger Andy Williams Ryan Davis made a half break only to see his offload to Geraint Lewis knocked-on.
The deadlock was finally broken in the twenty-third minute when Jeremy Staunton landed a routine penalty after the home side were penalised for pulling down a maul just outside their own twenty-two.
The first try came after half an hour when Rob Fidler capitalised on some quick thinking from Martyn Wood to score in the shadow of the posts. After Quins had been penalised for pulling down a maul, Wood tapped quickly, and after a couple of phases debutant Steve Booth held the ball up superbly for Fidler to score in his 150th Zurich appearance. Malone added the conversion.
Malone stretched the lead to seven when he landed a long range penalty after Quins were penalised following a nasty collision between two of their own players. The final ten minutes of the half were all Bath and the home side pulled away when Chris Malone’s sympathetic pass allowed Joe Maddock an incisive run deep into Quins territory. When the ball was recycled the impressive Ryan Davis found Lee Mears, who brushed off two tries to score. Malone’s conversion drifted wide of the uprights.
After the interval Quins rallied and Sevens flier Ugo Monye crossed in the corner after some good work from the away backs. Jeremy Staunton’s touchline conversion pulled the gap back to just five points.
With their confidence growing Quins proceeded to throw everything at the home defence and Daffyd James came close to levelling the scores only to be hauled down in the corner by Andy Williams. The Welshman soon atoned when he capitalised on Maddock’s poor clearance kick to score near the posts. Staunton’s conversion gave Quins the lead. It was a lead that the visitors were not to lose.
Bath Rugby: 15 JOE MADDOCK (PEZ), 14 ANDY WILLIAMS, 13 ANDREW HIGGINS, 12 RYAN DAVIS, 11 STEVE BOOTH, 10 CHRIS MALONE (1c, 1p), 9 MARTYN WOOD, 1 CHRIS LOADER, 2 LEE MEARS (1t), 3 HEINRICH KOK (FLATMAN), 4 JAMES HUDSON, 5 ROB FIDLER (1t), 6 GERAINT LEWIS (DELVE), 7 JAMES SCAYSBROOK
8 ZAK FEAUNATI
REPLACEMENTS: 16 DAVE WARD, 17 DAVID FLATMAN, 18 GARETH DELVE, 19 RAMIRO PEZ
20 HUGH PERRETT, 21 NICK WALSHE, 22 PETE MURCHIE
NEC Harlequins: 15. Tom Williams (Duffy), 14. George Harder, 13. Dafydd James (1t), 12. Mel Deane, 11. Ugo Monye (1t), 10. Jeremy Staunton (1c, 1p), 9. Steve So’oialo, 1. Mike Worsley, 2. Tani Fuga, 3. Ceri Jones, 4. Jim Evans, 5. Simon Maling, 6. Nick Easter, 7. Andre Vos (Capt.), 8. Tony Diprose
Replacements (to be selected from the following): James Hayter, Jon Dawson, Simon Miall, Roy Winters, Luke Sherriff, Dave von Hoesslin,
Arwel Thomas, Gavin Duffy, Simon Keogh
Referee: Steve Lander
RESULT BATH 15 HARLEQUINS 17
Att: 10, 500
6th MARCH 2005 GLOUCESTER V BATH
“The guys were phenomenal. It was an incredibly competitive game,” he said. “I thought that we dominated during injury time. I knew whoever lost the game would be gutted. Luckily it was not us.”
Asked whether the club’s proud history in the competition had a bearing on the game, Connolly was adamant that every team had to create their own. “I am aware of it, but every team has to develop their own history. These guys have now booked their place in a final and it is down to them to create their own little piece of history.”
“We got to Twickenham last year in the Zurich Premiership final and now we are there again. There is a lot of determination within the club to do well.”
Bath Rugby will now face Leeds Tykes, who defeated London Irish 15-6 at Headingly, in the Powergen Cup final on April 16th.
RESULT GLOUCESTER 34 BATH 19
12th MARCH 2005 BATH V WORCESTER
It was back to Zurich Premiership business at the Rec as an injury-hit Bath Rugby side saw off a spirited Worcester outfit 18-10 at the Rec.
Chris Malone scored all eighteen of the home side’s points with five penalties and a long-range drop goal in a superb kicking performance. Importantly with Gloucester losing the win takes Bath Rugby three points clear of their West Country rivals.
The past couple of weeks have not been easy for a club suffering badly to make up playing numbers. Already disrupted by a plethora of injuries and international call-ups, Head Coach John Connolly lost Andy Higgins to a hamstring injury in the week, before Joe Maddock was forced to withdraw on the eve of the game with a similar injury.
A call was quickly put into the RFU and it was agreed that Ryan Davis would be able to start for Bath less than twenty four hours after playing a full eighty minutes and captaining England Under 21s to victory over their Italian counterparts.
After a period of sustained pressure during which Chris Malone missed with a penalty and a drop goal attempt, the home side opened the scoring through the Australian fly half’s right boot when Worcester were penalised for a high tackle on Tom Cheeseman.
Worcester, with a good pack and a strong lineout, should have got themselves back into the game against a depleted Bath Rugby eight, but ill discipline cost them. Thinus Delport was binned after just four minutes and Chris Horsman after eighteen as Worcester gave away countless penalties and Bath capitalised by stretching the lead through the boot of Malone midway through the half.
Worcester’s growing ascendancy in the scrums earned them three points in the dying moments of the half when Tommy Hayes struck a penalty from inside the twenty-two after Bath were penalised for collapsing. The scores should have been level at the interval, but after another messy scrum Hayes missed another three point opportunity.
The second half started with Worcester camped inside the Bath Rugby twenty-two and after a series of scrums where the home side were penalised three times the visitors were awarded a penalty try by referee David Rose. Hayes added the extras to give Worcester the lead.
The scored stirred Bath Rugby into life and as the game began to open up, the home side played with more width. Malone added a penalty in the fifty-eighth minute to reduce the arrears to just a single point and Bath pushed forward.
Malone missed a fifty metre penalty effort, but Bath’s forwards were beginning to get back into the game. James Scaysbrook’s strong run resulted in another penalty chance for Malone who duly converted to give Bath the lead.
The final ten minutes were tense and although Bath worked their way inside the Worcester twenty-two chances were missed until Chris Malone landed a long-range drop goal on eighty minutes.
Worcester refused to lie down and deep in injury time they had a chance with a five metre scrum, but a good chance was blown when Thinus Delport was penalised for crossing. Bath killed off the game with another Malone penalty and the home side held on to win.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry, 14 Andy Williams, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Ryan Davis, 11 Steve Booth, 10 Chris Malone (5p, 1dg), 9 Nick Walshe (Wood), 1 David Flatman (Perrett), 2 Jonathan Humphreys (capt) (Mears), 3 Chris Loader (Barnes), 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler, 6 Geraint Lewis (Delve), 7 James Scaysbrook, 8 Zak Feaunati
Reps: 16 Lee Mears, 17 David Barnes, 18 Gareth Delve, 19 Dan Smith, 20 Ramiro Pez, 21 Martyn Wood, 22 Hugh Perrett.
Worcester Warriors: 15.Delport, 14.Pieters, 13.Rasmussen, 12.Lombard, 11.Hinshelwood, 10.Hayes, 9.Powell, 8.MacLeod -Henderson, 7.Sanderson (c), 6.Hickey
5.Gillies, 4.Collier, 3.Horsman, 2.Van Niekerk, 1.Windo
Reps: 16.Fortey, 17.Murphy, 18.Daly, 19.Vaili, 20.Cole, 21.Trueman, 22.O’LearY
RESULT BATH 18 WORCESTER10
25th MARCH 2005 NEWCASTLE V BATH
The visitors got off to the worst possible start when Tom May touched down after just twenty seconds for what was the third fastest try in Zurich Premiership history. Slow to react, it seemed as though Bath were going to be taken to the sword by a dangerous Newcastle back line, but as the conditions worsend Bath regrouped well and played to their strengths – keeping the ball in the forwards and executing some outstanding rolling mauls.
It took thirty-four minutes for the scoreboard to be troubled again and this time it was Malone who struck a penalty in gusting conditions to edge his side back into a game that they were beginning to dominate in terms of both field position and possession.
However, whilst Malone seemed to have brought his kicking boots with him, Dave Walder struggled at the other end. The fly half missed two routine penalties and a conversion before Matt Burke took over the duties for the Falcons.
Malone’s 52nd minute penalty gave Bath Rugby the lead before his drop goal ten minutes later tied up the game for the visitors.
Such was the Bath pack’s total control up front in the second period that Newcastle seemed unable to get hold of the ball to sustain any sort of momentum. Therefore it was perhaps a little more than a coincidence that the game was played for the last twenty minutes with uncontested scrums as all four Newcastle’s props were injured.
Bath Rugby are now fourth in the table ahead of Saracens on points difference and John Connolly said that he was pleased with the win, but admitted that he was not pleased with the performance. “We were really flat today and suffered a complet lapse at the start,” he said. “There were some good elements and I thought that the back three played well, but we had a poor first half.”
“To lose 9-5 in those conditions against the best pack in Europe was actually not too bad,” said Newcastle Director of Rugby Rob Andrew.
RESULT NEWCASTLE 5 BATH 9
9th APRIL 2005 BATH V NORTHAMPTON
0 mins: Shane Drahm kicks off for Northampton.
6 mins: Northampton break through Reihana. The move is eventually stopped inside the Bath Rugby twenty-two, but the home side concede a penalty at the break down. Drahm converts the penalty. 0-3.
10 mins: Steve Borthwick steals a line out. Geraint carries well and gives to Bell who is pulled down short. The ball is turned over though.
12mins: Malone levels the scores after Northampton are penalised at a ruck inside their own twenty-two. 3-3.
13mins: Shane Drahm drops a goal after a poor restart from the home side. Steve Thompson is injured and replaced by Dan Richmond. Mark Soden comes on for Ross Beattie.
17 mins: Chris Malone adds a long range drop goal. 3-6
25 mins: Steve Thompson returns. 6-6
31 mins: Bath have a great chance but Andy Higgins drops a crucial pass. However, the Bath pressure builds. The try eventually comes through full back Joe Maddock. Malone adds the conversion from wide out. 13-6.
36 mins: Andrew Higgins makes a superb break and fends off a Northampton tackler to score. Malone adds the conversion. 20-6.
40 (+5) mins: It is all Bath. Malone adds a penalty on the stroke of half time. 23-6
60 mins: Shane Drahm pulls three points back for the Saints. Wood comes on for Walshe for the home side, whilst Welsh replaces Higgins. 23-9
62 mins: Lee Mears blocks Steve Thompson and Drahm claws back three more points. 23-12.
67 mins: David Barnes replaces Duncan Bell for Bath.
70 mins: Gareth Delve replaces Geraint Lewis for Bath.
75 mins: Duncan Bell replaces David Barnes and Rob Fidler replaces Steve Borthwick for Bath.
76 mins: Yellow card Simon Emms.
78 mins: Duncan Bell scores after a well executed catch and drive. Malone adds the conversion. 30-12
79 mins: Ryan Davis replaces Joe Maddock for Bath Rugby.
Bath Rugby: 15 Joe Maddock, 14 Andy Williams, 13 Andy Higgins, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Brendon Daniel, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Nick Walshe, 1 Matt Stevens, 2 Lee Mears, 3 Duncan Bell, 4 Steve Borthwick, 5 Danny Grewcock, 6 Geraint Lewis, 7 James Scaysbrook, 8 Zak Feaunati
16 Jonathan Humphreys, 17 David Barnes, 18 Gareth Delve, 19 Rob Fidler, 20 Ramiro Pez, 21 Martyn Wood, 22 Ryan Davis
Northampton Saints: 15 Bruce Reihana, 14 John Rudd, 13 Andy Vilk, 12 Marc Stcherbina, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Shane Drahm, 9 Johnny Howard, 1 Simon Emms, 2 Steve Thompson (capt), 3 Brett Sturgess, 4 Matt Lord, 5 Selborne Boome, 6 Ross Beattie, 7 Darren Fox, 8 Grant Seely
Replacements 16 Dan Richmond, 17 Robbie Morris, 18 Damien Browne, 19 Mark Soden, 20 Ben Jones, 21 Luke Myring, 22 Mark Tucker
RESULT BATH 30 NORTHAMPTON 12
16th APRIL 2005 BATH V LEEDS
BATH RUGBY 12 LEEDS 20
24th APRIL 2005 LDN IRISH V BATH
Chris Malone was the hero of the away support as he landed a 25 metre drop goal in the sixth minute of injury time to secure the points that took his side one point clear of Sale with one round of matches to go.
However, the celebrations were somewhat muted by the news that Matt Stevens may have a Posterior Cruciate Ligament injury which could rule him out of Bath’s final Premiership match of the season. There were also concerns over Zak Feaunati (knee) and Matt Perry (back) who were also forced from the field.
Bath Rugby started brightly and Frikkie Welsh scored in the corner to break the deadlock after just seven minutes. Olly Barkley, assuming the kicking duties, stroked over the touchline conversion to give the visitors the perfect start.
Irish fought back, but Malone kept Bath ticking over with a drop goal before Zak Feaunati’s second half try stretched the lead further. Barry Everitt chipped away with two penalties to give Irish a two point lead heading into injury time, before Malone added his second drop goal to secure the victory.
LOST 19 -21
30th APRIL 2005 BATH V LEEDS
Despite leading 6-3 going into the sixth minute of injury time, Bath were ultimately unable to hold onto what was, so nearly, a narrow victory. This they let slip, along with replacement hooker Matt Holt, whose eleventh-hour try beside the posts served to add insult to Bath’s season of injury.
That injury, destined to be added to later, had in fact been sustained by captain Jon Humphreys, whose swansong at the Recreation Ground was cut abruptly short two minutes in when he was forced off the pitch to receive treatment to his nose.
The commonly regarded Powergen Cup final rematch did, however, start off in Bath’s favour – and a try looked possible early on, as Duncan Bell broke loose midway through the Leeds 22 in the early stages.
Leeds, though, fighting against relegation, also looked to open the scoring early on having earned a penalty in the 12th minute – but Gordon Ross’s deep left-wing heave missed its target.
Bath Rugby got close again three minutes later and again in the 17th after taking control of the line-out inside the Tykes’ 22, moving the ball from left to right through the backs and pushing the maul forward. A strong drive having been established, it then acted as a shield for Chris Malone to slot home his drop goal directly opposite the parallels and open the account, 3-0.
Bath subsequently made a couple of breaks into the pastures, one coming from outside centre Tom Cheeseman, who found himself quickly grounded by the same stubborn Leeds defence that had tested Bath to frustration at Twickenham two weeks earlier.
However, Bath would go on to steal three consecutive line-outs shortly thereafter. And it was their aggressive line-out play – their dominion for the whole contest – that would fuel the backs, and their pilot Chris Malone, who led a screeching drive into the centre of the Leeds 22 but was then penalised for not releasing the ball after the tackle.
Leeds were similarly penalised for not respecting the rules of the tackle on the stroke of normal time, when they were caught diving into the ruck. Olly Barkley capitalised, setting the ball down for his lofty kick from mid-left field which extended the score, 6-0 shortly before the interval.
The home side began the second act with sustained attacks at Leeds. They eventually gained a foothold of a scoring opportunity with a penalty on the five-metre line in the 12th minute. The resulting scrum saw the ball move out to the right for yet another breakdown, which was controlled and manoeuvred leftwards through Martyn Wood, Chris Malone and Olly Barkley, who spied a hole to chip ahead to Tom Cheeseman – but the outside centre missed the catch that could have set up a Bath try.
The chance to widen the gap gone for Bath, Leeds sought to close it two minutes later through Gordon Ross and Andre Snyman’s penetrating two-man play, which ended in young left-winger Tom Biggs being pulled down and dragged into touch.
By half-way through the second period, it was obvious there was still plenty at stake for both sides. After much seesawing in possession over the next ten minutes, Leeds then made another threatening stab into the west country defence and were afforded a gift of a scoring opportunity when Bath conceded a penalty in the centre of their 22.
The tide was beginning to turn in the Tykes favour, as Gordon Ross’s 37th minute penalty kept Leeds in contention and split the deficit, 6-3.
Spurred on by the continuing threat of relegation as time ticked on, Leeds continued to take the game right to Bath Rugby again into the 39th, number eight Alix Popham and Tom Biggs collaborating well on the left wing until Biggs fumbled his pass and dropped the ball out of play.
It was a lucky escape for the home team. Going into the 43rd minute, Bath would then kick themselves out of trouble again (as they had done throughout much of the game) through Chris Malone.
But unfortunately, it was Olly Barkley’s kicking vision and invention which had heralded a potential score earlier that, two minutes later in crunch time, let him down. And so it was that in the 45th minute he saw his left foot slice wide an otherwise feasible penalty conversion.
It was a mistake that seemed to permanently loosen the home side’s tenuous hold on the game.
Just sixty seconds later Leeds’ second row substitute Jon Dunbar and scrum half Alan Dickens helped snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when they teamed up in dying moments for hooker Matt Holt’s dramatic touchdown.
Bath could only then helplessly watch as Gordon Ross chipped the conversion that sealed the club’s fate 10-6, and emphatically drew the curtain on Bath’s final performance of the season, a performance where the home team had again, unwittingly, let the northern understudies steal the show.
15 Perry, 14 Williams, 13 Cheeseman, 12 Barkley, 11 Welsh, 10 Malone, 1 Barnes, 2 Humphreys (Mears), 3 Bell, 4 Hudson, 5 Grewcock, 6 Lewis, 7 Scaysbrook, 8 Delve.
Reps: 16 Mears, 17 Kok, 18 Goodman, 19 Fidler, 20 Booth, 21 Walshe, 22 Davis.
Points: Olly Barkley p, Chris Malone dg
Ref: Steve Lander
Att: 10, 500