Wasps stick boot into Bath
Mark Van Gisbergen's six penalties secured Wasps an 18-16 victory over Bath in the LV= Cup.
Last Updated: 14/11/10 6:20pm
Mark Van Gisbergen's six penalties proved just enough for Wasps to earn an 18-16 victory over Bath in a lacklustre LV= Cup match at Adams Park.
The New Zealander, who normally plays full-back but was operating at fly-half for the day, saw his opening second-minute attempt rebound from the post but kicked immaculately from then on to land the next six in his side's first win in this season's competition.
Bath, punished by referee Martin Fox for an array of misdemeanours at the breakdown, replied with three penalties from stand-off Sam Vesty before number eight Ben Skirving grabbed a late consolation try, converted by Vesty.
The visitors had one last chance to snatch victory with the last kick of the match but full-back Jack Cuthbert's wide-angle penalty from just inside the Wasps half drifted tantalisingly a foot wide of the post.
The result enabled Wasps to bounce back from the 29-6 defeat at Exeter in their opening LV game the previous weekend while Bath failed to capitalise on their opening win over Cardiff Blues.
The England pair of flanker Joe Worsley and prop Tim Payne both reached personal milestones for Wasps, with Worsley, back in the side after a facial cut, making his 300th appearance in all competitions for the club and Payne his 200th.
Vesty kicked the visitors ahead in the 14th minute after Wasps lock James Cannon was penalised for an illegal aerial challenge on Peter Short at a lineout.
But Van Gisbergen levelled two minutes later after Bath flanker Josh Ovens went into a ruck from an offside position.
Van Gisbergen and Vesty exchanged further penalties, in the 26th and 28th minutes, before Vesty suffered his first miss, falling just short from five metres inside the Wasps half.
Centre Dominic Waldouck and Van Gisbergen combined to release Richard Haughton in Wasps most threatening first-half move.
The winger was forced into touch but the attack produced dividends when, following a quick lineout, Vesty was penalised for a high challenge on Haughton and Van Gisbergen landed his third penalty.
Bath, who had made a late change from their announced side with Nick Scott called into the centre in place of England squad member Matt Banahan, were first on the attack after the interval but their momentum stalled when they were penalised at an attacking scrum.
Poor handling let both sides down as they struggled to find any sort of rhythm and number eight Dan Ward-Smith fumbled at the base of a scrum and then Van Gisbergen knocked on attempting an easy take from Vesty's kick to put the home side under pressure.
Ward-Smith made almost immediate amends, collecting at the tail of a lineout and charging 30 metres down the left wing.
The Wasps pack were held up just short of the line but, as they moved the ball right, stretching the Bath defence, Waldouck's pass was knocked on by centre partner Steve Kefu.
Van Gisbergen stretched the Wasps lead to 12-6 with his fourth penalty in the 57th minute.
Bath sent on Ross Batty, Duncan Bell and Danny Grewcock for Lee Mears, Aaron Jarvis and Short in a triple 60th-minute forward change but Van Gisbergen's fifth penalty extended Wasps lead to six points.
His sixth, stretching the lead to 18-9, came three minutes later when Bath flanker Guy Mercer was penalised for not rolling away from a tackle.
But Bath refused to concede defeat and sustained forward pressure enabled Skirving to power over for his 75th-minute try.