Planet Rugby

Bath cruise past Quins

13th October 2007 14:26

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Short crashes over for Bath's first

Bath continued their impressive season start with a 25-10 win over Harlequins at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Three slick tries from the hosts, adding to ten points from Shaun Berne's boot, saw Bath claim the spoils as Quins struggled to cope with their attacking flair.

Centre Berne was the match-winner with a personal haul of 15 points, including one of three tries as Bath notched up their fourth win in five games.

The contest saw former Bath playmaker Chris Malone upstaged by his young successor, Ryan Davis, who caught the eye with a mature performance at fly-half.

The Australian was off target with a couple of early penalty attempts and looked unusually hesitant on his first return.

Five of the Bath players who came off the bench to secure a precious away win at London Irish - Nick Abendanon, Michael Claassens, David Barnes, Paulica Ion and Michael Lipman - were named in the starting XV by head coach Steve Meehan.

Visiting boss Dean Richards had kept faith with the team that had squeezed out a 24-18 win over Bristol last week.

Quins, with only one win at the Rec since 1999, came into the game in second place despite having lost four away games from the end of last season.

Their opponents were looking to secure an unbeaten home sequence in the Premiership going back to last November.

Although Bath had the majority of possession in the first quarter, Malone's tactical kicking helped keep them at bay. But when Bath infringed at a ruck, leaving Malone with an easy kick, he pushed his kick wide.

Bath came back with a break down the left but Ian Davey was dragged down by late recall Ugo Monye.

However, the home side were eventually rewarded with a Berne penalty from 45 metres in the 27th minute and added to their score just two minutes later.

Superb approach work by the backs forced Quins to give away a penalty on the 22, but Bath played on with the advantage and lock Peter Short barged through two tackles to score in the corner, Berne adding the conversion.

With the hosts getting the better of the scrums and winning line-out balls unopposed, a second try was not long in coming. This time it was Michael Stephenson steaming off his wing to cut through for an unconverted score, which opened up a 15-0 lead.

But the visitors hit back with an opportunist try, scrum-half Steve So'oialo taking a quick-tap and speeding to the line to give Malone a simple conversion.

And Quins had a lucky escape just after half-time when fly-half Davis broke away and was held up on the line.

But, as it started to rain, Davis spilled a pass and Bath infringed at the ruck, allowing Malone to reduce the deficit to five points.

Not much had been seen of the Quins backs at this stage, but when the ball was finally moved along the line, centre Hal Luscombe was taken man-and-ball by Tom Cheeseman.

Bath took advantage of a quickly tapped free-kick after 52 minutes, which then became a straightforward penalty goal for Berne when prop Barnes was taken high.

Quins pressed hard with a series and pick-and-drives on the Bath line late on but eventually Malone was caught in possession and the chance to swing the game was lost.

And Bath subsequently regained the initiative when Davis sent Berne to the line for the third try with a well-timed pass.

Berne converted to take Bath 25-10 ahead and they held out comfortably to deny the visitors even a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Bath:

Tries: Short, Stephenson, Berne

Con: Berne 2

Pen: Berne 2

For Harlequins:

Tries: So'oialo

Con: Malone

Pen: Malone

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Ian Davey, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Zak Feaunati (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jonny Faamatuainu, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Peter Short, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.

Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 David Flatman, 18 Andy Beattie, 19 Daniel Browne, 20 Nick Walshe, 21 Alex Crockett, 22 Jack Cuthbert.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ugo Monye, 13 Hal Luscombe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Simon Keogh, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Steve So'oialo, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Paul Volley (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Jim Evans, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Ceri Jones.

Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 John Brooks, 18 Nicolas Spanghero, 19 Will Skinner, 20 Chris Hala'ufia, 21 Tosh Masson, 22 Tom Williams.

Referee: Andrew Small

Touch judges: Paul Dix, Peter Huckle

Assessor: Brian Leigh

Television match official: Geoff Warren

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