Cup hopes sink in Bath
The Cardiff Blues missed out on qualification for the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals despite a 14-6 victory.
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 30/11/07 10:09pm
The Cardiff Blues missed out on qualification for the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals despite a 14-6 victory over Bath on Friday night.
Both sides needed to win to have any hope of snatching the spot from Pool B leaders Leicester, but the Tigers' 32-8 win over Sale Sharks made all the calculations academic in the end.
Blues flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor scored the only try of the game as the Magners League leaders got one over the second-placed Guinness Premiership side.
David Flanagan kicked three penalties for Cardiff, and Bath centre Olly Barkley kicked six points in the dire conditions at The Rec.
Persistent rain meant the possession was patchy for both sides, with handling errors on the line preventing two first-half tries.
Flanagan broke the deadlock after quarter of an hour though when Barkley was penalised for not releasing the ball after being tackled. The Blues fly-half kicked his side into a hard-fought 3-0 lead.
Joe Maddock had a great chance to put Bath on the board moments later, after Butch James' clever kick to the blindside. The winger knocked on under pressure from Jason Spice though, to the disappointment of the home fans.
Barkley did level the scores with a penalty kick just before the half hour mark though before Cardiff wasted their big chance.
Spice sold Maddock with a sidestep and just needed to dive down on top of the ball for the game's opening try, instead the Blues winger fumbled the ball trying to transfer it to two hands.
Flanagan and Spice traded another set of penalties though, and the teams went into the interval tied at 6-6.
Gareth Thomas was penalised for a high tackle on Barkley after the restart, but the English centre was unable to convert the three-point opportunity with the wind picking up in the stadium.
Bath second-rower Peter Short was sin-binned just after the hour mark for tackling skipper Xavier Rush off the ball and Flanagan compounded the home team's problems by kicking Cardiff into a 9-6 lead.
The highlight of the game came just three minutes from time though when Jamie Roberts decided to run the ball from inside his own 22.
The full-back showed great feet to sidestep three men and offload to winger Tom James, who drew Nick Abendanon into make the tackle and then found Andy Powell. The substitute was held up just short of the line, but Spice found Sowden-Taylor from the resulting ruck to secure Cardiff a morale-boosting 14-6 away win.