Saracens come unstuck against Bath

Date published: December 3 2016

Saracens suffered only their second defeat of the Premiership season when they went down 14-11 to Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Both sides crossed for a try apiece but it was an outstanding defensive display which helped Bath to secure victory.

Between two of the league's top sides, the first half was unsurprisingly tight. The West Countrymen went into an 11-3 lead through Max Clark's try and two Tom Homer three-pointers before Saracens hit back before the break. Sean Maitland touched down, adding to Alex Lozowski's earlier penalty, as they went into the interval just three points in arrears. 

Lozowski equalised via a drop-goal but Homer's third successful effort of the tee proved to be the winner as Bath moved up to second in the table. 

Following last season's disappointing campaign, where they finished in the bottom half, Todd Blackadder'?s men have enjoyed a resurgence in 2016/17. They took that confidence into the early stages of this encounter and duly went 3-0 up when Homer kicked a penalty after the visitors were penalised at a scrum. 

Although Lozowski levelled matters, it was the hosts who were playing at a higher intensity and were rewarded through their full-back's second three-pointer. Discarded England winger Semesa Rokoduguni was also proving a significant threat on the right and his surges allowed the Rec-based outfit to put the usually stout Sarries defence under pressure. 

Mark McCall's team eventually succumbed as the ever-dangerous Ben Tapuai broke through a couple of would-be tacklers and off-loaded to Clark. With Saracens' rearguard in disarray, the former Red Rose age-grade representative had a simple run to the line for an 11-3 advantage. However, that was soon reduced through Maitland, who latched onto Ben Spencer?'s looping pass and darted over the whitewash.

It was an indication of a side finding their form, one that dominated the initial exchanges of the second period. In the face of an onslaught by the Londoners, the hosts did well to keep their tryline intact, but Lozowski managed to level matters with a drop-goal. 

The fly-half then found himself at the centre of proceedings three minutes later, being penalised for a high-tackle and receiving a yellow card in the process. Homer kicked the resultant opportunity and Bath led 14-11 with a quarter of the contest remaining. 

Sarries continued to control the majority of possession, though, and they went in search of the winning score, opting for the lineout instead of the posts. But for once, the visitors' basic skills let them down as Bath held on for an impressive victory.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Pens: Homer 3

For Saracens:
: Maitland
Pen: Lozowski
Drop goal: Lozowski
Yellow Card: Lozowski

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Tom Ellis, 6 Matt Garvey (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Jack Wilson

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Mike Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Titi Lamositele
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Nathan Earle

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Roger Baileff
TMO: Rowan Kitt