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Tigers and Bath in thrilling deadlock

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 17:56
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Goode drops in late
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Owen Williams' last-gasp conversion was just wide and that meant it finished honours even in a pulsating Premiership clash between Leicester Tigers and Bath at Welford Road.

The visitors were less than two minutes away from securing their first win in over a decade at the home of Leicester as George Ford returned to his former club and inspired his side to a three-try blitz.

* In the other Sunday match Andy Goode held his nerve to drive home a drop-goal with the last kick of the game for London Wasps, handing them a thrilling victory over Exeter Chiefs following a courageous second-half fight back.

Wasps had trailed 3-13 at the break after a Dave Lewis try and eight points from the boot of Henry Slade had given their opponents an advantage.

We look at Sunday's matches!

Leicester Tigers 27-27 Bath

Owen Williams' last-gasp conversion was just wide and that meant it finished honours even in a pulsating Premiership clash between Leicester Tigers and Bath at Welford Road.

The visitors were less than two minutes away from securing their first win in over a decade at the home of Leicester as George Ford returned to his former club and inspired his side to a three-try blitz.

But back came the Tigers, slowly but surely, and when man-of-the-match Jamie Gibson forced his way over in the right-hand corner the scores were level with time expired.

But Williams' effort drifted to the right and a draw was probably the fair result as both sides notched three tries apiece, Anthony Watson, Francois Louw and Jonathan Joseph for the visitors and Miles Benjamin, Thomas Waldrom and Gibson for the hosts.

Bath made the brighter start, a half break from Nick Abendanon nearly creating the first overlap of the game but a forward pass from Matt Garvey brought play back.

And from the subsequent scrum, the first of the game, the Tigers won the penalty and began to assert themselves in the Bath 22.

And it was Benjamin who eventually took full advantage, phase after phase creating the space down the right and the winger forced his way over in the corner.

Williams kept the kicking duties, despite the presence of Toby Flood in the starting XV, but his conversion attempt went narrowly wide.

But the former Scarlets man did not have to wait long to make up for his miss, slotting a penalty in the 14th minute to open up an 8-0 lead.

The early threat of Bath had not disappeared however and again it was Abendanon who carried the threat, creating an immediate response for the visitors.

Fed by a fine long pass by Ford, the full-back stepped his way past Vereniki Goneva, drew the last man and fed Watson and the winger then cut back inside to touch down, Ford's conversion reducing arrears to 8-7.

Bath were really starting to purr now and it was Ford pulling the strings, Kyle Eastmond's half break creating the momentum before the fly-half burst clear and fed Louw to swallow dive over and put Bath ahead.

The youngster's conversion was straight and true and with 20 minutes gone it was suddenly Bath in the ascendance at 14-8.

Williams responded with another penalty after Stuart Hooper dragged down a lineout but Ford notched a kick of his own and then Williams missed a tricky effort from out wide to make it 17-11 on the half hour.

The Tigers were dominating as half-time approached and a Williams penalty looked like it would be a three-point game at the break, only for Ford to again respond with a long-range effort with the last kick of the half, 20-14 to Bath at the break.

Straight after the interval and the kicking battle between the two young stand-offs continued, Williams striking a beautiful long-range effort into the wind to close the gap to three once again.

But the Bath back-line was still carrying real venom, and they had their third try before 50 minutes were up on the clock and it was the impressive Ford to the fore again.

The fly-half's wonderful flat pass found Joseph on the crash ball and the centre showed real elasticity and determination to stretch and dot down under the posts.

With his kicking still at 100% Ford was never going to miss the extras and Bath were ten points to the good at 27-17.

As the clock ticked round to the hour mark the Tigers desperately needed a try and skipper Flood turned down three points to kick to the corner.

From the subsequent lineout Hooper was sent to the sin bin for Bath but the visitors stayed strong and held the Tigers at bay initially.

But eventually the pressure told and the next time they entered the Bath 22, replacement Waldrom made no mistake to barge his way over at the back of the maul.

Williams' conversion was off target however meaning that with a quarter of an hour to go there were still five points in it.

Hooper returned from the bin without the Tigers having managed to make any more headway into the lead and the final ten minutes were nip and tuck.

But in vintage Tigers fashion they never gave up and with time almost up it was the superb Gibson who finally forced his way over in the corner, despite a valiant effort from Matt Banahan, but Williams could not add the extras and the spoils were shared.

The scorers:

For Leicester Tigers:
Tries:
Benjamin, Waldrom, Stuart Hooper
Pen: Williams 4

For Bath:
Tries:
Watson, Louw, Joseph
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 2

Yellow card: Stuart Hooper (Bath, 60)

Teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Toby Flood (captain), 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mélé, 22 Scott Hamilton, 23 Matt Smith

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Gareth Copsey
TMO: Geoff Warren.

London Wasps 19-16 Exeter Chiefs

Andy Goode held his nerve to drive home a drop-goal with the last kick of the game for London Wasps, handing them a thrilling victory over Exeter Chiefs following a courageous second-half fight back.

Wasps had trailed 13-3 at the break after a Dave Lewis try and eight points from the boot of Henry Slade had given their opponents an advantage.

But Joe Simpson's second-half score and Goode's improved kicking gave Wasps their sixth win of the season and moved them up to sixth in the Aviva Premiership.

The Chiefs got off to the perfect start after just 70 seconds when scrumhalf Lewis noticed a gap in the Wasps defence and ran in unopposed under the posts from 20 metres out.

Slade had the easiest of conversions to give his side a 7-0 lead but Tom Varndell almost replied with a score minutes later chasing onto an excellent Goode kick, only for the wing to have a foot in touch.

Elliot Daly then gave Wasps their first points of the afternoon with a mammoth kick from 52 metres after the Chiefs had been penalised at the breakdown.

However Slade was allowed the chance to restore his side's seven-point lead straight from the restart as Wasps gave away a penalty almost immediately - 10-3.

The young flyhalf however couldn't extend the lead even further on 17 minutes when he decided to go for the posts once more but he could only drag his penalty attempt wide.

Daly suffered a similar fate when he attempted another huge penalty on halfway three minutes later and then a superb tackle from Jack Nowell prevented Varndell finding the try line.

Another breakdown offence gave Slade an easy shot at goal on the half-hour and he made no mistake to give Exeter a ten-point lead while Goode missed a penalty shortly afterwards, seemingly not helped by the wind.

After the break the Wasps fly-half had the chance to make amends after his forwards had won another penalty in the scrum, this time the ball sailed between the posts for 13-6.

The momentum was with the home side and Goode confidently kicked his easiest chance of the match after a break from Charlie Hayter had almost led to a try just before.

The gap was at just four points and on the hour Wasps took the lead for the first time in the game through scrumhalf Simpson.

The No.9 danced over in a similar fashion to Lewis' earlier score, capitalising on a huge gap in the Exeter defence - Goode converting for 16-13.

Wasps were asking all the questions and were confident with ball in hand but Exeter thought they had retaken the lead with ten minutes to go through a Slade try.

The Chiefs No.10 had a kick half charged down by Goode which, playing everyone onside, put Ian Whitten through.

The centre then fed Tom James but when the wing gave the ball to Slade a fantastic tackle from Simpson denied him a certain try - Slade settling for a penalty instead shortly after to level things up at 16-16.

But with the very last kick of the match Goode dropped back into the pocket and, after receiving the ball, slotted home a drop goal to give Dai Young's side the victory.

Scorers:

For London Wasps:
Try:
Simpson
Con: Goode
Pens: Daly, Goode 2
DG: Goode

For Exeter Chiefs:
Try:
Lewis
Con: Slade
Pen: Slade 3

Teams:

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Will Helu, 13 Chris Bell (captain), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Andrew Suniula.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm (captain), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson & Stuart Terheege
TMO: Graham Hughes

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