London Irish suffered a blow to their survival hopes after falling to a 40-16 defeat against Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.
London Irish suffered a blow to their survival hopes after falling to a 40-16 defeat against Bath at the Rec.
Bath headed into the game in tremendous Aviva Premiership form, having won their last three matches in the competition, while the Exiles were looking to make it two league wins in a row following their victory over Saracens.
Tom Homer's quickfire brace of penalties ten minutes into the game gave the visitors an early lead. But Bath found an instant response, and, after Stephen Donald had narrowed the deficit to three with the boot, a penalty try on the half-hour put the hosts in front, before Nick Abendanon snapped up Tom Heathcote's well-weighted pass to score the game's first try.
Heathcote's conversion made it 17-6, but there was still time for Homer to boot over a third penalty for Irish on the stroke of half-time.
Two further Heatcote penalties during the 15 minutes following the restart kept things ticking over for Bath, though Jack Moates' try in the corner, converted excellently by Ian Humphreys, meant that the hosts could not afford to let their foot off the gas in the final minutes.
Within seven points of their opponents, Irish were on the comeback trail, but an explosion of home points in the final five minutes killed off any hopes the visitors harboured.
Heatcote's penalty on 75 minutes gave Bath breathing space, and he was on target twice more before full-time, adding conversions to tries from Nathan Catt and Anthony Perenise to seal what turned out to be a very handsome win.
Tries: Penalty, Abendanon, Catt, Perenise
Con: Heathcote 4
Pen: Donald, Heathcote 3
For London Irish:
Pen: Hodgson 3
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (capt), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Jon Fisher, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates.
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce Andrew Watson
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant
Assessor: Gary Welsh