Eight-try Team Bath start busy home run with victory over Northumbria in another high-scoring BUCS Super Rugby encounter
Team Bath kicked off a busy home run of BUCS Super Rugby fixtures in fine style as they beat Northumbria 52-36 to complete their first league double of the 2021-22 season.
The Rengen-sponsored men’s 1st XV scored seven tries to win October’s reverse fixture and went one better at the Team Bath Sports Training Village tonight thanks to some strong running, lightning bursts of pace and brilliant expansive rugby.
Northumbria also scored six tries, three of them in the closing minutes, to secure a losing bonus point and while Team Bath Head of Rugby Aaron James was happy to see his side get the win after narrow three-point defeats to Exeter and Cardiff Met, he said the final result showed there was still work to do.
“You saw the best of us tonight but you also saw some of the worst,” he said. “We were after the win and we got it. We know what Northumbria can do, they’ve come here in the past and really taken it to us like they did in the last 20 minutes tonight, but I think we were better overall.
“There was a lot of learning for us through winning, which is a better way of doing it, but we still haven’t produced a complete performance yet so we’ve still got to keep working and get better. We’re producing some entertaining rugby but we want less points scored against us!”
Northumbria missed an early penalty and instead found themselves behind after five minutes when in-form George Worboys found space on the right and surged through for a try which he converted.
The lead was doubled in fine style in the 15th minute when full-back Bevan Howells collected a clearance kick in his own half and quickly switched the play across the pitch via Cal Barrett to centre Alex Clayton, who threw a couple of feints to create a gap in the visiting defence before racing through for an excellent try. Worboys’ conversion from the touchline was also impressive.
Team Bath, moving the ball with speed and precision, continued to stretch the Northumbria defence and increased their lead to 19-0 when winger Alfie Garside (pictured top) showed good strength to fend off a couple of tackles and touch down in the corner for his sixth try of the season.
Northumbria winger Ollie Williams finished off a slick attacking move to score the visitors’ first try of the evening, which Will Davies converted, but Team Bath responded immediately as more strong running, this time from Barrett, saw the centre race onto a brilliant no-look pass from Clayton and through for the bonus-point try. Worboys’ conversion was good.
Barrett was sin-binned in the closing minutes of the half and Northumbria took advantage of the extra man to drive over from a lineout scrum, hooker Jonty Mainey getting the final touch. Davies’ conversion hit the post as the half finished with Team Bath leading 26-12.
After a scrappy start to the second half, Team Bath were able to work a fifth try when hooker Duncan Hood showed a good turn of pace to break from a lineout maul and go over, leaving Worboys with a simple conversion.
It was Garside’s turn to apply the afterburners soon after as, following an incisive break from Howells, he sliced through the Northumbria defence for his second try of the evening, Worboys’ confident conversion bringing up the 40-point mark.
Northumbria kept battling away and a good spell of pressure in the Bath 22 ended with replacement Matt Siddle notching their third try and Davies adding the extras. However, as they looked to instigate another attack, Worboys intercepted a loose pass and ran from his own half before diving over.
Hood completed his personal brace of tries, again from a lineout maul, to bring up the half-century for Team Bath, with Worboys converting.
Northumbria’s battling performance deserved some reward and they got it when, with replacement home hooker John Taylor in the sin bin, Harry Hill forced his way over a bonus-point fourth try before Williams caught Team Bath cold from the restart to score his second of the night.
There was still time for full-back Charlie Johnson to score from the last play of an entertaining match as the visitors finished strongly but Team Bath had done more than enough to secure five valuable points.
Tonight’s match was the first of three successive home fixtures for Team Bath, who entertain Leeds Beckett on Wednesday 1st December and Loughborough on Wednesday 8th December. Both kick-off at 6.30pm and admission is free to spectators.
Team Bath starting XV: 1 Archie Stanley, 2 Duncan Hood, 3 Josh Cilia, 4 Elliot Powell, 5 Tom Black, 6 Paddy Ashdown, 7 Tom Williams, 8 Harry Breeze; 9 Sam Clough, 10 George Worboys, 11 Alfie Garside, 12 Alex Clayton, 13 Cal Barrett, 14 Sam Mercer, 15 Bevan Howells. Replacements: 16 John Taylor, 17 George Cave, 18 Matt Mason, 19 Erik Bryant, 20 Ted Johnson, 21 Ellis Horgan, 22 Rahul Patel, 23 Iwan Price Thomas.
Tries: Worboys 2, Clayton, Garside 2, Barrett, Hood 2.
Conversions: Worboys 6.
Northumbria starting XV: 1 Jasper McGuire (c), 2 Jonty Mainey, 3 Eoin Harrison, 4 Charlie Farmer, 5 Will Hopes, 6 Cam Wilkinson, 7 Joe Lashley, 8 Harry Hill; 9 Fergus Dobson, 10 Will Davies, 11 Luckas Blue, 12 Zac Thompson, 13 Jos McConkey, 14 Ollie Williams, 15 Charlie Johnson. Replacements: 16 Hamish White, 17 Matt Siddle, 18 Tom Handy, 19 Ryan Gibson, 20 Tyler Tomlinson, 21 Kareem Eissa, 22 Harry Cain, 23 Ned Newman.
Tries: Williams 2, Mainey, Siddle, Hill, Johnson.
Conversions: Davies 3.
Referee: Adam Leal.
Assistant referees: Adam Wookey, Stuart Dillon.