Six penalties and a drop-goal from Toby Flood helped Leicester secure a vital 21-15 Aviva Premiership victory over Bath on Saturday.
Six penalties and one drop-goal from Toby Flood helped Leicester secure a 21-15 Aviva Premiership victory over Bath at Welford Road on Saturday.
The game was billed as being the fixture of the weekend in England but in the end, teeming hail and rain put a slight kibosh on proceedings.
Flood and Olly Barkley were the protagonists on the day, scoring all of their sides' points as efforts were a far cry from their Heineken Cup exploits.
Both outfits had suffered early blows to their front-row stocks as first Bath lost David Wilson to injury in the warm-up before Boris Stankovich left the field with an as yet unknown problem. That latter issue was the first time the English game saw a club query the Tigers prop's 'blood-bin' ruling. Referee Andrew Small dealt with it well.
Leicester started the game as they finished last week's cruise against Scarlets and quickly got the scoreboard moving via an ugly-looking drop-goal from Flood. The England number ten was once again assured and solid for the home side in an 80-minute showing and gave his November Test starting chances another boost.
Flood then doubled the Tigers' lead on six minutes as Bath struggled for a foothold in the match until Barkley responded from long range with a nice strike. Footholds would then become extremely hard to come by as the weather took a turn for the worse – cue the hail.
It was then no surprise that what followed saw little flamboyancy from the two rivals, with Flood knocking over another two penalties to take Leicester up to 12-3. But inside centre Barkley was soon on hand to send over another sweetly-struck three points on 24 minutes.
Unfortunately the tempo and skill levels did not pick up when Leicester and Bath returned from the dressing rooms but one positive for the home side, and England for that matter, was the form of Dan Cole. The tighthead played 55 minutes and won his side a key penalty against David Flatman at the set-piece, which will please club and international management. Flood knocked over the points, adding to one on 45 minutes.
The scores were now 18-6 and with tries not looking likely, Bath needed Barkley to kick the goals when required. That he did from the touchline as the visitors looked for a way back.
And despite a late surge for their first victory at Welford Road for seven years, it proved not to be as Flood's seven moved Leicester up to fifth place in the Aviva Premiership standings.
Pen: Flood 6
Pen: Barkley 5
Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Craig Newby, 6 Tom Croft, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Joe Duffey, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Ben Woods, 21 James Grindal, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Shontayne Hape, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Luke Watson (capt), 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Ignacio Fernandez-Lobbe, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 tbc, 19 John van der Giessen, 20 Ben Skirving, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Biggs, 23 Jack Cuthbert.