22 Apr 14
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Quins v Bath
Harlequins v Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby (H)
10/05/2014, KO 15:15
Sat 10th May 14
AVIVA Premiership Rugby
Bath 14-3 Quins
L W W W W
W L W W W
Harlequins still sit fourth with two tough games coming up against Exeter Chiefs in Big Game 6 next Saturday and then away to Northampton Saints for the first fixture of 2014.
The conditions in the south west proved dreary with rain lashing down ahead of kick-off. Amazingly, despite the dark skies overhead the rain stayed away during the game, but the wet ground and wind made playing running rugby that bit more difficult.
Only one try was scored, by one of Bath's summer signings Jonathan Joseph. The centre took the ball from a set piece and dashed 50 metres down the pitch, skipping through the Harlequins defence to cross the line. His speed and ability to change direction at pace allowed him to break through and score in the 47th minute. George Ford, who had been on form in the first half missed the conversion. The try was the only points scored in the second half.
Harlequins were unlucky not to score a try in the dying minutes of the game. Demonstrating their intent to go for the losing bonus point, Nick Evans had kicked to touch for a line-out after being awarded a penalty about seven metres out from the tryline. With the score 14-3 the visitors worked the ball out from the line-out down the line and then into a rolling maul, only for the referee Martin Fox to deem the ball to have been held up without going to the TMO for confirmation.
Bath set their stall early in the first half, going 6-0 up in the first six minutes of the match. Within the first thirty seconds, Harlequins had been penalised for not rolling away and Ford slotted the ball over the posts easily. His second penalty came minutes later when Evans slipped on the wet ground when making a clearance kick and it was charged down by his opposing number, Ford. The visitors were penalised in the ensuing ruck for going over the top and Ford added the three points.
In front of a vocal sell-out crowd of 12,200 to a chorus of Christmas songs, Bath pushed Harlequins all the way, closing down ball and blocking their every move.
The home side went 9-0 up in the 25th minute when Harlequins were penalised from a George Robson block - he proved too strong for the Bath fly-half Ford.
Harlequins only points of the game came shortly afterwards when Evans kicked the penalty awarded after Bath went into a ruck at the side.
Ford had the opportunity to kick his side further into the lead as Bath were awarded two further penalties - the first he missed from the right touchline and the second was missed from the opposite side of the pitch. Both very difficult kicks, especially in the conditions. The two penalties sandwiched a sin-binning for Harlequins' Charlie Walker who, with twenty seconds of the first half remaining, put in a tip tackle on the Bath fullback Anthony Watson. Bath went into the changing rooms at the break 9-3 to the good.
Bath took full advantage of having the extra man in the opening ten minutes of the second half, when Joseph scored the only try. He managed to find the gaps in the Harlequins defence and break through for the five points.
Credit to the visitors, who as ever, never gave up - looking for the losing bonus point and always striving to take something more from the match.
After the game, Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea commented: "The side that deserved to win today won. I'm pretty disappointed, but the guys stuck to it right to the end and just didn't get the point at the end.
"Attention now turns to next week and we'll be ready for Exeter Chiefs at Big Game 6."
Tickets are still available for Big Game 6 if you fancy blowing away the festive cobwebs. Click here.
|Bath Rugby Score Card|
|Harlequins Score Card|