Set-piece pressure finally tells as BUCS Super Rugby leaders Durham prove too strong for Team Bath men’s 1st XV
The Rengen-sponsored hosts had to rejig their pack shortly before kick-off due to injuries but fronted up well and were only trailing 13-6 at the interval. However, a well-drilled Durham outfit dominated set-pieces throughout and the pressure told in the second half as they scored five more tries, four of them while Team Bath were down to 14 men.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We were well beaten today and we’re disappointed with the penalty count because we said we needed to stay disciplined. Durham are a good, solid side playing with lots of confidence but we showed we could put them under pressure at stages, just not as much as we wanted to.
“We always want to keep positive. We know what we can do and we’re confident the boys will be in good shape to go to Loughborough next week.”
Durham arrived at the Sports Training Village having won their previous 12 matches and needed just three minutes to forge ahead, flanker Jamie Adamson diving over in the corner.
The teams then exchanged penalties, George Worboys slotting over from distance for the hosts and Josh Clarke replying from in front of the posts, before the half settled into a well-contested affair, with Team Bath facing up to their high-flying visitors.
They closed the gap to two again when an excellent break from scrum-half Ellis Horgan put Durham on the back foot and forced them to concede a penalty, which Worboys put between the posts.
Durham then seized on an error to launch a counter-attack which ended with Number 8 Jack Hill going over for their second try, making it 13-6 at half-time, but Team Bath could be happy with their efforts.
They started the second half in a promising position too, earning a lineout on the Durham line, but the visitors were able to keep the driving maul at bay before forcing their way over at the other end after finding themselves in a similar position in the 50th minute, captain Fred Davies touching down. The conversion was again missed.
Tempers boiled over shortly afterwards and, with Team Bath’s Ted Johnson sent to the sin bin, Durham quickly took advantage as the ensuing penalty was kicked to the corner and Davies again went over from the lineout drive to stretch the lead to 23-6.
Team Bath’s 14 men defended stoically to repel some fierce Durham pressure but, with Johnson about to return to the pitch, their resistance was breached as centre Sol Hyde managed to find a gap and touched down for a try converted by Will Morris.
The league leaders were now in control and, with Team Bath replacement Lachlan McGrigor in the sin bin for the closing stages, Davies burrowed over to complete his hat-trick of tries before Adamson grabbed his second of the game, with Clarke’s successful conversion the last kick of the game.
Team Bath head to old rivals Loughborough next week (16th) before returning to the Sports Training Village for their final home match of the 2021-22 league season against Cardiff Met on Wednesday 23rd February. Kick-off is 6.30pm and admission is free.
Team Bath starting XV: 1 Archie Stanley, 2 Max Keller, 3 Josh Cilia, 4 Elliot Powell, 5 Tom Berry, 19 Tom Black, 7 Tom Williams, 8 Xavier Hastings, 9 Ellis Horgan, 10 George Worboys, 11 Austin Emens, 12 Bevan Howells, 13 Alfie Garside, 14 Calum Barrett, 15 Luca Mignot. Replacements: 16 George Studdard, 17 Will Prior, 18 Archie Maggs, 6 Ted Johnson, 20 Lachlan McGrigor, 21 George Wootten, 22 Rahul Patel, 23 Iwan Price-Thomas.
Penalties: Worboys 2.
Durham starting XV: 1 Monty Royston, 2 Fred Davies (c), 3 Matt Woodward, 4 Marijn Huis, 5 Joe Murphy, 6 Henry Higginson, 7 Jamie Adamson, 8 Jack Hill, 9 Harry Craven, 10 Josh Clarke, 11 Max Pepper, 12 Sol Hyde, 13 Ollie Walker, 14 Paul Brown, 15 Nicholas Jonas. Replacements: 16
Jacob Head, 17 Oscar Stott, 18 Hamish Murray, 19 Rhys Belcher, 20 Ewan Murphy, 21 Morgan James, 22 Jack Reid, 23 Will Morris.
Tries: Adamson 2, Hill, Davies 3, Hyde.
Penalties: Clarke 2.
Referee: Adam Wookey.
Assistant referees: Daniel Evans, Ben Simpson.