Bath cling on against Newcastle

Date published: March 18 2016

Two tries from Semesa Rokoduguni helped Bath to a narrow 21-19 victory over Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership on Friday.

A first half double from Rokoduguni gave Bath the advantage, countering a Rob Vickers’ try. The tight second 40 minutes saw Bath narrowly claim the victory thanks to Tom Homer’'s late penalty.

With both sides coming into the game looking to move away from the foot of the table, it was Tom Homer who missed the first opportunity to give the hosts the lead, firing a kick wide of goal.

13 minutes into the night, Newcastle stole the first try of the game. A lineout on the left hand side saw the ball fall into the arms of Vickers, who touched down from a few yards. Mike Delany converted to put Falcons 7-0 up.

The hosts grew back into the game quickly though and had a decent lead by the half-time arrived. It all came within the final 10 minutes of the half, started off by Ollie Devoto. His long, hopeful cross-field ball was retrieved by Rokoduguni, controlling with his foot before collecting and touching down. Homer converted and within two minutes of half-time, the hosts took a five-point advantage into the break.

Rokoduguni grabbed his second of the night, being provided with possession by Francois Louw who dragged men towards him.

That opened up a whole load of space for Rokoduguni who went over. Homer’'s conversion flashed wide of the sticks, whilst the final action of the half saw Delany smash a penalty off the posts in what was the closest call of the half.

The second half followed on the theme of the first with both sides rotating when it came to attacks at either try line.

Homer capitalised on a superb Matt Banahan attack, firing a penalty safely through to increase the hosts lead back up to five points.

But it wasn’t entirely convincing, Delany immediately reducing that advantage back down to two points after an infringement at the restart.

The hosts' task became harder when Louw was issued with a yellow with 20 minutes left to play, though the game stayed as tight as it had for the first hour.

Two minutes after the yellow, Falcons retook the lead with another penalty, Delany’'s effort edging just over the crossbar to put his side a point in front. And for the hosts, the game look destined for a nightmare finish, reduced to 13 when Henry Thomas was shown a yellow for a foul in front of the Bath posts.

Homer again reduced the arrears at the penalty though, with Falcons the next to lose a man as replacement Scott Lawson ensured he would miss the final 10 minutes.

And though it looked bleak for Bath, they snatched back the lead in dramatic style.

A kick from the far right from Homer sailed through the posts to put Bath two points into the lead. Delany tried to snatch past the advantage with a drop-goal but it edged inches wide of the posts as the hosts hearts began to beat at a normal pace again.

Despite three attempted drop goals, Bath were able to record the 21-19 victory.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries: Rokoduguni 2
Con: Homer
Pens: Homer 3
Yellow Cards: Louw, Thomas

For Newcastle:
Try: Vickers
Con: Delany
Pens: Delany 4
Yellow Cards: Lawson

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jeff Williams, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Max Clark, 23 Horacio Agulla

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Giamba Venditti, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Calum Green, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Taione Vea, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Rob Vickers 
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Michael Young, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Belisario Agulla

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Andrew Small
TMO: Stuart Terheege