Frustrating return to home ground as strong finish earns Cardiff Met the spoils against Team Bath
A 400-strong crowd enjoyed a closely-contested opening 60 minutes, which saw the match finely poised at 13-13. However, it was the visitors who eventually emerged with the spoils as they capitalised on a couple of errors from the Blue & Gold – sponsored by Fulkers Bailey Russell – to secure a 32-13 victory.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We’re disappointed that we couldn’t finish when well placed a couple of times in the first half, then in the second we played in the wrong areas a few times which was frustrating because we had the wind behind us.
“Fair play to Cardiff Met, though, particularly in the contact areas and breakdown. They held us up a number of times which stopped any momentum that we did have.
“We’re frustrated that we couldn’t give the crowd a bit more tonight but there are a couple of things we know we can do to turn things around.”
Both teams went into the game on the back of wins last week and the first half proved to be a well-fought, evenly-matched contest.
The home team struck first, applying pressure from the off with a series of lineout drives that eventually led to Chris Barry going over and George Worboys adding the extras.
Cardiff Met’s response was immediate, with the scrum they forced from the kick-off providing the platform for a series of sorties on the Team Bath line. The home defence was eventually breached when Ed Spragg went under the posts, leaving Harry Johnston with a simple conversion.
Both teams had long periods of pressure after that but the defences stood firm and the only additions to the scoreboard were a late penalty apiece, Johnston for Cardiff Met and Worboys with the last kick of the half for Team Bath.
Cardiff Met lost hooker Corey Lewis to the sin-bin two minutes into the second half but the hosts couldn’t take full advantage of their extra man and only had another Worboys penalty to show for their efforts.
Johnston replied in kind to level at 13-13 before Cardiff Met regained the lead as they turned over possession in Team Bath’s half, leading to a converted try from lock Tom Pearson.
A brilliant last-ditch tackle from Sam Kennaugh prevented what seemed a certain try from visiting winger Zach Clow but Team Bath’s reprieve did not last long as they were penalised from the resulting scrum on their own line, handing the initiative back to Cardiff Met and number 8 Alex Ward punished them by burrowing over.
The victory, and bonus point, was wrapped up when Team Bath winger Alex Varney was yellow-carded. The penalty was kicked to the corner and Max Heathman went over from the lineout, with Evan Lloyd adding the extras.
Team Bath’s second half was summed up in the closing stages as, with Cardiff Met down to 13 men following the sin-binning of replacements Tom Workman and Barny L-Cryer, they forced a number of penalties on the visitors’ line but were unable to get the try their efforts deserved.
Tonight’s match was the first of four successive home games at the Sports Training Village for Team Bath, who also supported by Rengen Developments.
Next up is a big South West derby against in-form Exeter University on Wednesday, November 26. Kick-off is 6.30pm and admission is free.
Team Bath starting XV: 15 George Worboys, 14 Alex Varney, 13 Sam Kennaugh, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Cal Barrett, 10 Tom Pittman, 9 Jacob Tansey; 1 Tom Rowland, 2 Jordi den Hartog, 3 Simone Elrick, 4 Jordan Martin, 5 Edoardo Balocco, 6 Gwilym Bradley, 7 Chris Barry, 8 Ed Ashcroft. Replacements: 16 Rory Mead, 17 Joe Atkins, 18 Alex Curtis, 19 Cam Keys, 20 Tom Williams, 21 James Richardson, 22 Benn Morris, 23 Elliot Bancroft.
Penalties: Worboys 2.
Cardiff Met starting XV: 15 Callum Bradshaw, 14 Zach Clow, 13 Oliver Morris, 12 Harry Johnston, 11 Jack Silvester, 10 Evan Lloyd, 9 Matt Marsh (c); 1 Harri Dobbs, 2 Corey Lewis, 3 Will Hurd, 4 Ed Scragg, 5 Tom Pearson, 6 Max Heathman, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Alex Ward. Replacements: 16 Harry Sutherland, 17 Tom Workman, 18 Oliver Andrews, 19 Barny L-Cryer, 20 Charlie Geary, 21 Ethan McVeigh, 22 Will Rigg, 23 Harrison Button.
Tries: Spragg, Pearson, Ward, Heathman.
Conversions: Johnston 2, Lloyd.
Penalties: Johnston 2.
Referee: Adam Leal.
Assistant referees: Andy Wigley, Fred Spong.
Fourth official: James Maby.