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Bath edge fiery West Country battle

Sat, 12 Apr 2014 19:47
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Leicester Tigers saw off the challenge of London Wasps
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George Ford converted a late penalty try to strengthen Bath's hold on an Premiership play-off place with a dramatic victory in a fiery encounter with West Country rivals Gloucester.

However, they remain four log points behind third-placed Leicester Tigers who saw off the challenge of London Wasps at Welford Road.

In the third match on Saturday Exeter chiefs moved up to seventh with their 38-33 victory over the Worcestor Warriors who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

We take a closer look at all of the matches:

Bath 18-17 Gloucester

Bath saw two players yellow carded in the first half but trailed by only three points at the break as two penalties from Ford answered three from Billy Twelvetrees.

The game changed though when Sila Puafisi was shown a red card for a high tackle on Nick Abendanon and Stuart Hooper powered over for a Bath try.

A yellow card for Bath's Dave Attwood was followed by Henry Trinder scorching over but in a crazy finish, Gloucester lost two further players to yellow cards and saw Tavis Knoyle sent-off with a penalty try, converted by Ford, handing Bath victory.

Gloucester drew first blood with a Twelvetrees penalty on four minutes after Ross Batty was penalised at the breakdown.

Bath responded with Abendanon bursting towards the posts and though Carl Fearns lost possession once the ball was recycled, Gloucester were judged to have knocked on in defence.

The visitors continued to probe the ball line looking for a gap but when the Cherry and Whites were again penalised, Ford kicked the penalty to level the match and reach 201 points for the season Premiership.

Bath appeared to have scored the first try of the match when Horacio Agulla cut through the Gloucester defence from a set-piece but referee Tim Wigglesworth denied the score for obstruction in the build-up.

Instead it was the hosts who retook the lead on 25 minutes with Twelvetrees kicking another three points.

Bath's hopes of hitting back before half-time were reduced further when flanker Fearns was sent to the bin for illegally ripping the ball as Gloucester attacked, with Twelvetrees completing the punishment with another penalty.

In truth Gloucester did little else with the man advantage, affording Bath a penalty from which they cut the deficit back to three points.

Twelvetrees struck a post with another penalty attempt and Ford led a Bath breakaway but the visitors shot themselves in the foot again when Matt Garvey was sent to the bin for a high tackle on No.8 Gareth Evans.

Evans was replaced by England No.8 Ben Morgan at half-time and Bath should have levelled the game up three minutes after the interval but Ford's penalty attempt drifted left of the posts.

Ford attempted to repair the damage two minutes later but his drop-goal attempt came back off the post.

Having failed to take any great advantage of Bath twice being down to 14 men, Gloucester saw one of their own men sent from the match when Puafisi was red-carded for a high tackle on Abendanon.

Bath took immediate advantage of their extra man as they rumbled over the Gloucester line with captain Hooper touching down, though Ford's failure to convert left the door open for Gloucester.

By now the game was operating with uncontested scrums and Gloucester continued to create opportunities but Twelvetrees saw a long-range penalty attempt drift wide.

However, the Cherry and Whites were again given a leg-up in the game when Attwood was sin-binned for not releasing and Twelvetrees bisected the posts to put his side 12-11 up.

And Gloucester struck a decisive blow with ten minutes remaining when fine work from Mike Tindall allowed centre partner Trinder to tear over for a try.

Again the conversion was spurned, Twelvetrees firing wide, to leave the game on a knife edge.

In a frantic finish Tindall was yellow carded for an infringement at the breakdown after Jonny May hauled down Abendanon as he charged towards the tryline and Huia Edmonds was then sent to the bin 30 seconds later.

Anthony Perenise was then bundled into touch as he rumbled towards the Gloucester line.

There was still time for more drama as with Bath rumbling towards the tryline, referee Wigglesworth awarded a penalty try.

A melee followed that saw Gloucester scrumhalf Knoyle sent off as the Cherry and Whites finished with just 11 players and a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Try:
Trinder
Pens: Twelvetrees 4

For Bath:
Try:
Hooper
Pens: Ford 2

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Twelvetrees (captain), 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Gareth Evans 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Will James, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Dan George, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 James Hudson, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Rob Cook

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 George Ford, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (captain), 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise 19 Dominic Day, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Peter Stringer 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Anthony Watson.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce and Gareth Copsey
TMO: David Sainsbury

Leicester Tigers 27-15 London Wasps

Niki Goneva celebrated signing his new contract with Leicester Tigers by scoring one of four tries for the home side in a closely-fought 27-15 victory over London Wasps.

The Fijian crossed for one of two first-half Leicester tries to make it 12 in 22 appearances for the club this season, with Manu Tuilagi also touching down in either half while replacement scrumhalf David Mele got the other at the death.

Defeat extended a poor run for the visitors who now only one victory in their last seven Premiership outings, despite tries for Guy Thompson and Tommy Bell.

Wasps struck first when Leicester were penalised for going offside and Goode kicked the penalty to touch on the Tigers 22-metre line.

From the lineout Leicester were pinged again for holding on in the tackle and Goode stepped up to bisect the posts and make it 1,961 points in the Premiership.

Leicester pressed forward and when Owen Williams found Tuilagi he broke several tackles but failed to find Niki Goneva on his inside shoulder and the chance came to nothing.

Williams had the chance to level with a penalty but struck his effort well wide of the posts in a gusting wind that was making life difficult for the kickers.

Wasps were making life difficult for themselves with Charlie Davies having two clearing kicks charged down in the space of a minute, Graham Kitchener making his presence felt at the breakdown.

The home side then got their driving maul going and rampaged into the Wasps 22, the ball spun wide to Tuilagi who crashed over under the posts for the first try of the afternoon.

Williams knocked over the conversion but it was before the TMO had confirmed the try and referee Andrew Small forced him to re-take the shot, with the same effect.

Wasps broke straight up the other end and poor defence by the Tigers who didn't commit bodies to the breakdown saw the ball end in the hands of Will Helu who got over the try line, only for Tuilagi to get underneath him and hold the ball up.

Awarded a five-metre scrum, Wasps were then pinged for holding onto the ball under pressure from Julian Salvi, with Leicester winning a penalty as a frustrated Wasps were marched back ten metres for backchat to the referee.

But Leicester paid for some slack defending when forwards found themselves defending against backs out wide and the ball found its way to flanker Guy Thompson who showed good pace on the left flank to touch down. Goode's conversion made it 10-7 against his old team.

Leicester went on the offensive as Blair Scully climbed highest to claim the restart, only being pulled to ground ten metres from the line.

Wave after wave of Leicester attacks failed to breach the Wasps defence until the stroke of half-time when good work by Matt Tait and Matt Smith ended with Goneva cruising into the corner. Williams slotted a difficult conversion to make it 14-10 to the home side at the break.

Not long after the re-start Tuilagi showed his raw power to break through a series of tackles and hand off the chasing pack to cross for his second try of the afternoon.

Williams, 15-metres from the touchline, failed to extend the lead with the extras and it remained 19-10 after 47 minutes.

The game remained scoreless with the loudest cheer the appearance of Geoff Parling replacing Graham Kitchener after six months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

With 16 minutes of the game still to play Leicester were awarded a kickable penalty and Williams opted to go for the posts successfully, extending their lead to 12 points as the game went into its final quarter.

Leicester looked to be easing to victory but then Elliot Daly kicked behind the Tigers defence for Helu to run onto and touchdown.

Joe Carlisle failed with the extras pushing his kick across the face of the posts but suddenly Wasps found themselves within seven points with nine minutes to play.

But it was Leicester who found another gear to pull away and secure a bonus-point win, camping in the Wasps 22 and forcing their way forward until replacement scrumhalf David Mele crossed the line with two minutes on the clock.

Williams missed with the conversion but Leicester's push for a top two Premiership place and a home semifinal come the end of the season rolled on.

The scorers:

For Leicester Tigers:
Tries:
Tuilagi 2, Goneva, Mélé
Cons: Williams 2
Pen: Williams

For London Wasps:
Tries:
Thompson, Bell
Cons: Goode, Daly
Pen: Goode

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater (captain), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 David Mélé, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Niall Morris.

London Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 James Short, 13 Chris Bell (captain), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Will Helu, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ed Jackson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Ricky Reeves, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Elliot Daly.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Kelvin Stewart
TMO: David Grashoff

Worcester Warriors 33-38 Exeter Chiefs

Gareth Steenson was in inspired form as he helped Exeter Chiefs to a bonus-point victory at Sixways, despite a brave fight-back from Worcester Warriors.

The flyhalf scored a try and kicked 13 points as the Chiefs ran out 38-33 winners - Sam Hill, Dave Lewis and two Jack Yeandle scores also contributing.

David Lemi scored two in reply, as well as tries from Chris Pennell and Augstin Creevy, but Worcester simply had too much to do having been 21-3 behind after just 25 minutes.

Lamb had the game's first point-scoring opportunity on four minutes but he pulled his penalty left of the uprights despite striking the ball well.

But his opposite number Steenson provided the spark that saw Exeter strike first on ten minutes as his surging run - that saw him break three tackles - paved the way for Lewis to go over in the corner.

Steenson was successful with the conversion and although Lamb got Worcester on the scoreboard with a penalty the Chiefs flyhalf provided the assist for his side's second try of the game.

Fetu'u Vainikolo's break and excellent offload to Dean Mumm had the Warriors defence struggling to organise themselves and with quick ball it was Steenson who found eventual try scorer Hill, before nailing the conversion.

That saw Exeter go 14-3 ahead after 18 minutes and after another missed penalty from Lamb, Steenson had a try of his own just seven minutes later after a Hill break had put him in under the posts.

A simple conversion followed to put Exeter 21-3 in front but then the Warriors staged something of a comeback with two tries in as many minutes.

Pennell went over on 32 minutes after finishing off what must have been a well-rehearsed move, the fullback being the fed the ball on the short side following a solid scrum.

Lamb's wayward kicking display continued as he missed the conversion but minutes later Worcester had closed the gap further thanks to Lemi's opportunistic score.

Worcester capitalised on a loose ball following an Exeter knock-on and Lemi proved too quick for Matt Jess as he collected his own kick to score - this time Lamb successful from the kicking tee to take the score to 21-15.

Steenson then missed a penalty just before half-time but a well-controlled maul from Exeter allowed Yeandle to touch down for a bonus-point score with the last action of the first half - Steenson converting for a 28-15 lead.

Lamb got the first points of the second half with a penalty but yet again Exeter's cutting edge was evident as Yeandle touched down, Steenson converting for 35-18.

The Warriors though didn't give in and again closed the gap through Creevy's score on 52 minutes, the hooker going over after great patience from the Worcester side.

Lamb's conversion was good, reducing the deficit to 35-25, but Steenson added another penalty five minutes later to move Exeter into a 38-25 lead.

Replacement James Scaysbrook was then shown a yellow card for a professional foul with Worcester five metres from the Exeter line and with a man advantage the Warriors got their bonus-point try.

Lemi found space in the corner for his second score of the match and while Lamb missed the conversion and added a late penalty, Exeter held on for a 38-33 win.

The scorers:

For Worcester:
Tries:
Pennell, Lemi 2, Creevy
Cons: Lamb 2
Pens: Lamb 3

For Exeter:
Tries:
Lewis, Hill, Steenson, Yeandle 2
Cons: Steenson 5
Pen: Steenson

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (captain), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Andy Symons.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Dean Mumm, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Don Armand, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 James Phillips, 20 James Scaysbrook, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott.

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff and Ashley Rowden
TMO: Graham Hughes

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