Bath hang on to beat Tigers
Bath exorcised their 2006 EDF Energy Cup nightmare with a close run 20-14 victory over defending champions Leicester on Saturday.
By Simon Dilger
Last Updated: 27/10/07 7:26pm
Bath exorcised their 2006 EDF Energy Cup nightmare with a tough 20-14 victory over defending champions Leicester.
With the Tigers controlling the game for long periods, Bath hung on to their impressive record at the Rec so far this season, thanks to a 68th minute try from centre Alex Crockett.
Leicester full-back Sam Vesty had touched down for the visitors in the first half but his points were cancelled out when the home side were awarded a penalty try just before half-time
Bath, handing an early return from World Cup duty to Steve Borthwick and Nick Abendanon, took the lead via the boot of Ryan Davis after three minutes.
Davis, standing in for the rested Shaun Berne, landed a 35-metre penalty, although Ian Humphreys returned the compliment within minutes, slotting one between the posts from a similar range.
Humphreys continued to cause problems for Bath with a series of expertly judged kicks to the corners and a couple of clean line breaks also testing the home defence.
The Tigers hit the front in the 23rd minute thanks to a 50-metre penalty from the Irish fly-half and two minutes later Vesty crossed after taking full advantage of the overlap.
Other than an Abendanon counter attack, Leicester remained camped in the home team's half for most of the match until number eight Jordan Crane was caught in possession in his 22.
Davis landed his second penalty and when Humphreys kicked a monster effort from six metres inside his own half wide, Bath began to claw their way back.
Leicester gave away a penalty to frustrate Bath's powerful scrummage after Abendanon was stopped at the corner.
And when they committed another offence at the put in referee Ashley Rowden awarded a penalty try against the visitors, duly converted by Davis.
Bath led by just 13-11 at half time but both sides, with the exception of Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza who came on to bolster a creaking Leicester scrum, resisted the temptation to blood any more of their World Cup players so soon.
Humphreys spurned three points for Leicester, missing a relative sitter of a penalty and Matt Banahan looked sure to score for Bath, brushing aside two tacklers only for the huge winger to drop the ball on arriving at the line.
Bath's defence held on to endure a strong Leicester fightback and keep their grip on a slender six-point lead thanks to Crockett's score.