Similar weather proceeded the game at the Rec. as proceeded the Rugby World Cup Final, they weren't the conditions for an exciting game of running rugby.
The first scoring chance went to Paul Burke when the referee, Mr Maybank, awarded a penalty out wide on the left, but the usually dependable boot of Burke pushed the ball just wide of the right hand upright.
Both teams then started a game of rugby ping-pong with long kicks going repeatedly from one end to the other. Quins then gave away one of a number of penalties and Olly Barkley stepped up to put the home side's first points on the board. He made no mistake from 22m out. (3-0, 7 minutes)
NEC Harlequins' attacks came to nothing with either Barkley or Perry clearing their lines time and time again with long kicks.
Quins got on the board just after the quarter hour, Burke kicked a penalty to touch just 5m from the Bath line. Vos came to the front of the line, took the ball cleanly and popped it to Sanderson who ran round the front of the lineout to score. It was a move straight from the training pitch. Burke added the two points from the conversion just a metre or two inside the left touchline. (3-7, 16 minutes)
Three minutes later Barkley cut Quins' lead to one point with another penalty. (6-7, 19 minutes). Both sides then reverted to a long kicking game.
Soon after there was a ruck where Sanderson and Lipman tussled and fell over, Lipman then threw a couple of punches and was also seen to use the boot by the touch judge. After a discussion Roy Maybank gave Lipman a red card. Burke missed the penalty just to left of the posts.
Barkley then showed Burke how it should be done when he slotted another penalty in the second minute of injury time to give Bath the lead for the first time. (9-7, Half time)
Barkley started the second half the way he ended the first with two more penalties in the 42nd and 53rd minutes. (15-7)
A number of replacements happened in the second half with Dunne replacing Burke (47 mins); Worsley for Jones and Rudzki for Davison on 58; Gomez for Dawson and Winters for Diprose on 64; Maggs for Kydd on 66; Stevens for Flatman on 70 and Mears for Humphreys on 72 minutes.
Andy Dunne, who had replaced Burke who was taken off with injured ribs, narrowed the gap with a penalty from the left of the posts to give NEC Harlequins the chance of a bonus point or even four points. (15-10, 71 minutes)
Feaunati then made a great break up the left but he was stopped just 10 metres short of the line, and then Pat Sanderson was penalised for collapsing a rolling maul and Olly Barkley kept up his 100% record by kicking his sixth penalty to deny Quins a bonus point and get himself the man of the match award. (18-10, final score)
Afterwards Mark Evans expressed disappointment that Quins hadn't come away with any points but he didn't think the man advantage was that great because it was a kicking game rather than an expansive running game. He was happy with the set piece and Quins had the upper hand in the lineout and scrums. It was a game of tactical kicking and Bath's kicking game was better than Quins', Bath were also more competitive at the breakdown and Olly Barkley gave masterclass in goal kicking.
Bath's head coach, John Connolly, highlighted the performance of Olly Barkley, the captaincy of Jonathan Humphreys and the play of Zac Feaunati, Steve Borthwick and David Flatman.
Evans, who had picked Bath as his dark horse for the championship at the beginning of the season believes that they have pretty much got the league won in the regular season.
Both sides will be welcoming back World Cup winners next week but which ones will get straight back into the starting line ups is still to be decided. Evans commented that prop is a position where Quins have a lot of good players and it might take some time to get Jason Leonard out of the bar while he celebrates his part in the World Cup win!
Pens: Barkley 6
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Robbie Kydd, 12 Andrew Higgins, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Martyn Wood, 1 David Flatman, 2 Jonathan Humphreys (c), 3 Duncan Bell, 4 Steve Borthwick, 5 Rob Fidler, 6 Andy Beattie, 7 Michael Lipman, 8 Zak Feaunati.
Replacements: 16 Ross Blake, 17 Lee Mears, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Kevin Maggs, 20 Paul Sampson, 21 James Scaysbrook, 22 Scott Gray.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.