Leicester grind out victory over Bath

Date published: January 4 2015

Leicester strengthened their position on the table after claiming a hard-fought 17-8 win over Bath at Welford Road on Sunday.

The result was sweet revenge for Leicester who were humiliated in the corresponding fixture at the Recreation Ground earlier this season.

With memories of the 45-0 reverse suffered in September still fresh in the mind, the Tigers were largely dominant in the opening half, as they looked to inflict revenge.

The only try of the first 40 came from a strong Tigers drive, with Tom Youngs grounding the ball to see Leicester take an 11-3 lead into the break.

The second half saw two more penalties come from Owen Williams, and despite strong efforts by Bath to get back into the game, they came up short thanks to some strong home defending.

A last minute try from Ross Batty was a deserved consolation following a good second half, but George Ford’s missed conversion ensured Bath failed to take any points back to The Rec.

With seven victories on the bounce for Bath, their game-plan was eradicated as the action took a back seat to a steady stream of scuffles that were a constant theme of the opening period.

Though no yellow cards were issued, the visitors did concede five penalties inside the opening fifteen minutes.

They took the lead five minutes in with Ford making no mistake from the afternoon’s first penalty, but Williams hit back with three points moments after his first penalty struck a post.

The Tigers were well on top in the opening exchanges, and they ground Bath into their own 22 for long spells. So it came as little surprise when the first try came courtesy of a drive over the line.

A line-out saw both sides come together, but the Welford Road crowd roared their side over, Youngs the man with ball in hand. Williams missed his conversion, but fired another penalty through to stretch the lead.

Tigers should have had another try for all their efforts, but the Bath defence were able to hold up the hosts five metres out, as they struggled to get a grip on the game.

Sam Burgess looked like he had his first Premiership try half an hour in, after he went over following an Ollie Devoto pass. However, referee Matthew Carley deemed the pass forward, leaving his wait for a first try a little longer.

Ford missed a penalty on the brink of half-time, as he fired one off the post. The second half was an entirely different affair, with Bath on top for long spells as they searched for a way back into the game.

Williams struck two clean penalties for the hosts to increase the lead to 14 points, and it was then that the away side threw everything forward.

Despite long spells of pressure inside the Tigers 22, they failed to add to their points total, Semesa Rokoduguni perhaps coming the closest as he was edged out of play just short of the line.

But Batty was able to go over in the final minute to equal the try scoring for the afternoon following yet another push forward by the visitors.

However, Ford’s attempted conversion was wayward, as he surrendered the chance of a bonus point, with the Tigers completing the victory that sees them take bragging rights back following that September defeat.

The scorers:

For Leicester:
Try: T Youngs
Pens: Williams 4

For Bath:
Try: Batty
Pen: Ford

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone , 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Seremaia Bai.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Sam Burgess, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Micky Young, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Jonathan Joseph.

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Ross Campbell and Paul Dix
Television match official: Graham Hughes