Harlequins survive late Bath comeback

Date published: November 27 2016

Harlequins replacement Tim Swiel scored a dramatic late penalty to hand Harlequins a 21-20 win over rivals Bath in the Premiership.

Quins dominated the opening 40 minutes, but the second half was much more back and forth with both sides seemingly having won the game in the final quarter of the match. It means the hosts have won their last seven games at Twickenham Stoop, and Bath have lost for just the second time in 10 league games, but did manage to pick up a losing bonus point.

Harlequins made history with their starting forward pack all being English qualified graduates of the Quins academy, and they made the best possible start as the Bath defence got caught staying too narrow, allowing a perfectly weighted ball from Nick Evans to Tim Visser who went over all too easily.

The hosts settled well after the unconverted try, but Bath hit back and moments after Semesa Rokodugini came very close to levelling the scores, the visitors did get on the scoresheet courtesy of full-back Tom Homer from the tee.

Quins lost Evans midway through the first half due to a blood injury, but his replacement Swiel was soon into the swing of things, scoring two penalties in quick succession to give his side a commanding lead.

That commanding lead however was dismantled within minutes, with Bath registering their first try of the afternoon thanks to Kane Palma-Newport, who finished off a dogged attack after Darren Allinson just failed to carry the ball over the line. Tom Homer added the extras and there was just one point between the sides going into the break.

Within four minutes, the second half provided something that the first half did not, a Bath lead. It came courtesy of Homer, who kicked a penalty following James Chisholm's offside.

The hosts wasted little time though in restoring their advantage, Marland Yarde and James Chisholm combining to assist Karl Dickson who flew over from close range, with Swiel kicking the extras.

Then, with a quarter of an hour remaining, Bath levelled the score via Nathan Catt, who just managed to squeeze the ball over the line after numerous attempts from his teammates. Homer kicked Bath into a narrow lead with the conversion.

But, with six minutes left, Swiel had a penalty from shooting distance and made no mistake to hand the lead back to Quins with time fast running out.

The Scorers:

For Harlequins:
Visser, Dickson
Cons: Swiel
Pens: Swiel 3

For Bath:
Palma-Newport, Catt
Cons: Homer 2
Pens: Homer 2

Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Joe Marchant, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Charlie Walker

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Matt Garvey (c), 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Levi Douglas, 21 Will Homer, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Matt Banahan

Referee: Dean Richards