Bath moved provisionally second on the Aviva Premiership table after beating London Irish 33-23 at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Bath moved provisionally second in the Aviva Premiership after beating London Irish 33-23 at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on Saturday.
Captain Shane Geraghty ensured that the home side got some points on the board in the first-half from two penalties despite his team being dominated by the visitors.
Bath were awarded a penalty try and Gavin Henson secured three penalty kicks of his own and the conversion to give the visitors a 6-16 lead at half-time.
London Irish fought back in the second-half with two tries from David Paice and James Short and another penalty courtesy of Geraghty.
But Bath were simply too good and held on for the four points.
Geraghty claimed the first points of the game with a successful penalty kick in the second minute but it was quickly wiped out by Henson’s penalty just minutes later.
Bath made their big first impression on the game nearly 20 minutes in and the resulting penalty from the scrum was kicked once again by Henson.
Bath were persistently attacking the Exiles line but the home side held out strong despite being warned by referee Andrew Small for a number of infringements. In the end, Small had enough and Halani Aulika was sent to the sin-bin, meaning that London Irish would see out almost all of the remaining half with a man down.
Henson successfully kicked the penalty as a result of the yellow card and it was not long before the referee once again had enough of the home side’s behaviour at the scrum and awarded Bath a penalty try.
With Bath now firmly ahead, Geraghty kicked another penalty for his team just before half-time but it still meant that they were trailing 6-16 at the whistle.
Bath scored straight from the off in the second-half with an excellent break by Henry Thomas who shrugged off the London Irish defenders to score.
The early try by the opposition seemed to spark life into the home side and they mounted a comeback, putting some serious pressure on the visitors’ line. The sustained pressure and Bath mistakes soon paid off for London Irish as they slowly made their way to the line from a line-out and forced their way over courtesy of Paice.
Geraghty added another penalty and suddenly the home side were starting to look very dangerous. However Bath replied with a penalty for Henson and a fantastic try for scrum-half Chris Cook. Cook made the break and literally somersaulted over the line to score, hurting himself in the process, however he did get back up and continue on with the rest of the game.
Just as Bath seemed to get back into the game, Dom Day was shown a yellow card and Mike Ford’s men were to play the remainder of the game with 14 men.
London Irish were absolutely determined to get some points from this game and managed to score again before full-time. A great series of offloads from the team sent Short through and his dummy allowed him to sneak past the Bath defence to bring his team to within ten points once again.
It was a nervous last few minutes for Bath and a relief when the final whistle blew to end the game 23-33 to the visitors.
For London Irish:
Tries: Paice, Short
Con: Geraghty 2
Pen: Geraghty 3
Tries: Penalty try, Thomas, Cook
Con: Henson 3
Pen: Henson 4
London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Conor Gilsenan, 6 Luke Narraway, 5 Sean Cox, 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Dave Lyons, 20 Ollie Curry, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Eoin Griffin, 23 James Short.
Bath: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 David Sisi, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Olly Woodburn.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Roy Maybank
Television match official: Keith Lewis
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
Assessor: Martin Fox