Winning Bath debut for Watson

14th Nov 2009, 15:22

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Ben Williams

Ben Williams

South African recruit Luke Watson scored a try on debut for Bath in their 21-11 win over the Ospreys at the Rec in the LV= Cup on Saturday.

South African recruit Luke Watson scored a try on debut for Bath in their 21-11 win over the Ospreys at the Rec in the LV= Cup on Saturday.

Watson, the most controversial figure in South African rugby, made an instant impact on his debut for Bath with the try that swung this tie.

Watson came off the bench at half-time to stamp his mark on the game , showing just why Bath have signed the inspirational back row from Western Province.

Daniel Browne, also making his first appearance of the season, rounded things off with a last-minute try as Bath clinched their first win in any competition for two months and their first at home in this campaign.

A strong blustery wind made for unpredictable kicking conditions so Ospreys full-back Barry Davies was being optimistic in the extreme with a drop goal attempt from his own half after five minutes. The ball hardly reached the Bath 22.

The visitors, despite being 29 players short through injury and international calls, were winning quicker ball in the loose than their opponents but were soon giving away penalties at the breakdown.

Bath had a clear edge in the scrums but also fell foul of referee Sean Davey, conceding free-kicks which took the sting out of their efforts in the tight.

First blood went to Ospreys when Barry Davies followed up a searching 80-metre kick up field by then landing a 12th minute penalty from 40 metres.

Ryan Davis put Bath in a promising position with a deft kick but then missed a fairly straightforward penalty chance when James King fell the wrong side of a ruck.

The Ospreys half-backs were having some difficulty judging the wind, sending the ball out on the full, and Bath maintained the pressure to set up a successful penalty by Davis on 20 minutes.

Barry Davies might have edged Ospreys in front again from long range but then handed over the kicking duties to fly-half Gareth Owen. He needed a sighter before making it 6-3 from 40 metres on 35 minutes.

Bath had lost Rob Hawkins with an ankle injury and England and Lions hooker Lee Mears came on for his first game in five weeks.

Davis and Jack Cuthbert both missed opportunities to level the scores before the break but it was a scrappy affair for which the weather was only partly to blame.

Bath made a number of changes at and after half-time and Watson made his presence felt almost straight away at the breakdown and provided the kind of direction that has been missing at the Rec this season.

Davis finally found his range with the boot, kicking two penalties in quick succession to give Bath a 9-6 advantage as Ospreys' discipline in the loose was found wanting.

Bath's best chance of a try came in the 66th minute when Davis' high kick eluded Barry Davies and Ashley Beck but Tom Cheeseman failed to capitalise.

They did not have long to wait however as replacement David Flatman forced a penalty at the scrum and Watson scored from the ensuing catch and drive at the lineout. Davis' conversion attempt was wide.

Ospreys refused to give in and had a chance of a draw after skipper Jerry Collins set up flanker Justin Tipuric for a 77th minute try in the corner.

But Matthew Jarvis missed the conversion and Browne capitalised on a mistake to score on the final whistle, Davis adding the conversion.

The Scorers

For Bath:
Tries:
Watson, Bronwe
Con:Davis
Pens: Davis 3

For Ospreys:
Try:
Tipuric
Pens:Davies, Owen

Bath: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Mike Baxter, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Peter Short (c), 4 Scott Hobson, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacemnts: 16 Lee Mears, 17 David Flatman, 18 Mark Lilley, 19 Daniel Browne, 20 Luke Watson, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Paul Roberts, 23 Nick Scott.

Ospreys: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Nicky Thomas, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Ashley Beck, 10 Gareth Owen, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Tom Smith, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Jerry Collins (c), 5 James Goode, 4 James King, 3 Cai Griffiths, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Will Taylor, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Steve Tandy, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Hanno Dirksen.

Venue: The Rec
Referee: Sean Davey