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January 21, 2012

Bath Rugby 23 - 18 Glasgow Warriors

Heineken Cup match played at Recreation Ground on Saturday January 21st 2012 | No comments

Tommy Seymour went over for Glasgow's first try
Glasgow's European hopes ended at the Rec this afternoon as they went down 23-18 to Bath Rugby.

Two late penalties from Olly Barkley helped Bath overcome a brave Glasgow fightback in the second-half.

Bath had held a 10-6 lead at half-time thanks to a Tom Biggs try and five points from centre Barkley's boot, fly-half Duncan Weir replying with two penalties for the Warriors.

Early in the second half Ben Skirving's converted try extended Bath's lead before Glasgow turned the game on its head as wing Tommy Seymour and flanker Rob Harley crossed.

But Barkley had the last word as he claimed a personal haul of 13 points to give the hosts just a second win in nine games, and end Glasgow's lingering hopes of an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final spot.

With both sides having no hope of progressing in this tournament The Rec crowd may have hoped to see an enterprising tussle, but they were instead treating to stodgy, error-strewn fare during the first 40 minutes.

Weir had booted the Warriors into a third-minute lead with his first penalty, but it was his error that gifted Biggs the opening score.

The outside-half looked to shift the ball on while under pressure, and his loose pass was gathered in by Biggs who raced in from halfway for a try converted by Barkley.

Scrum-half Chris Cusiter's chargedown of opposite number Chris Cook quickly put Bath on the back foot and forced a second penalty for Weir to convert, but the Scottish side were already showing signs of struggling to handle the home pack.

The Warriors front row was under pressure at scrum time, conceding a string of penalties, while Bath's driving maul was proving an effective weapon.

Barkley extended the home side's lead to four points in the 17th minute with his second penalty, after John Barclay was harshly penalised for not rolling away, but a lack of accuracy at crucial moments meant Bath did not take advantage of their forward edge.

Countless promising attacking positions went begging, either from crooked line-out throws or clumsy handling, and their half-time lead would have been just a single point had Weir being able to land a difficult long-range penalty effort just before the interval.

But Bath finally made the dominance of their pack tell four minutes into the second stanza as a well-controlled, trundling maul worked its way over from fully 25 yards, with Skirving emerging from the heap of bodies to claim the score. Barkley added the extras with the help of an upright.

There were injury worries for Scotland coach Andy Robinson as prop Ed Kalman joined lock Ali Kellock in being forced off but, against the odds, Glasgow almost found an instant reply.

Barclay cut through the Bath midfield and smart handling sent wing Colin Shaw over, only for the final pass to be ruled forward.

But the Warriors did strike back after the most cohesive period of attacking play in the entire contest as they stretched Bath one way and then the other to create a weight of numbers that allowed replacement Scott Wight to give Seymour an easy finish.

Wight, on for Weir, knocked over the conversion to trim the lead to four and Glasgow's fightback was given added impetus when Cook was sin-binned for killing the ball.

And the Warriors second try was not long in coming as centre Stuart Hogg streaked down the right to second back-rower Harley over to put Glasgow a point to the good with 17 minutes to play.

But having fought so valiantly to get back in the game the Warriors were caught trying to play their way out of their own half, and Barkley punished them with another penalty to put Bath back ahead, before adding another three-pointer in the dying minutes.

Head coach Sean Lineen was bitterly disappointed his side had given up a winning position having worked so hard to get back into the game.

He said: "It's very disappointing. Our ambition is to win games and that was winnable. In the third quarter we showed our naivety, by playing in the wrong areas for too long and getting penalised.

"We were playing against a team with 14 men and we just needed to put a kick in behind them, and that is down to experience and we did not make good decisions.

"Once we had momentum we looked dangerous but it did not happen often enough, a losing bonus point is just not good enough."

Sean was also less than pleased with his team's efforts in the forward exchanges, and the interception pass thrown by Duncan Weir to gift Biggs his try.

"The main thing was the set-piece battle," he said. "We lost it in the first half. Our line-out drives and scrums were really poor, and the intercept killed us, it was an individual mistake and it is a killer.

"I have said to the guys that in the pool we won two games, drawn one and lost three and that is not where we wanted to be. In the first half we were not at the level."

Referee Christophe Berdos (France)
Attendance 11,055
Jon Welsh
Pat MacArthur
Ed Kalman
Richie Gray
Alastair Kellock
Robert Harley
Chris Fusaro
John Barclay
Chris Cusiter
Duncan Weir
Colin Shaw
Graeme Morrison
Stuart Hogg
Tommy Seymour
Rory Lamont
Dougie Hall
Gordon Reid
Ryan Grant
Tom Ryder
Henry Pyrgos
Ryan Wilson
Peter Murchie
Scott Wight
Match Substitutions
Off On
Alastair Kellock Tom Ryder
Off On
Ed Kalman Gordon Reid
Off On
Pat MacArthur Dougie Hall
Off On
Duncan Weir Scott Wight
Off On
Chris Cusiter Henry Pyrgos
Off On
Colin Shaw Peter Murchie
Off On
Chris Fusaro Ryan Wilson
Off On
Jon Welsh Ryan Grant
Duncan Weir Penalty
Duncan Weir Penalty
Tommy Seymour Try 
Scott Wight Conversion
Robert Harley Try 

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