Saturday, 25th November 2017 @ 12:15
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A first half blitz from Bath Rugby saw them pick up a try-bonus point within the opening twenty minutes on route to a 38-14 victory in Round 9 of the Aviva Premiership.
The hosts got off to a flying start in front of their home crowd scoring four quick tries in the opening spell with a converted Henry Cheeseman try the only points for the visitors as they trailed 29-7.
Harlequins scored a second try through Gabriel Ibitoye, but three second half penalties from Bath saw them ease to a 38-14 and move into the Top Four.
Earlier, Harlequins arrived at The Rec following the spirited, but ultimately disappointing, performance against Exeter Chiefs last weekend. And once again they were forced to play from behind early. A Zach Mercer break from his own half setting up Paul Grant to score in just the second minute. Freddie Burns converting to give his side a speedy 7-0 lead.
James Chisholm was soon shown a yellow card following a dangerous clear out at the ruck and the hosts would capitalise thanks to a five pointer from Burns. The fly-half making the most of an overlap with Chisholm in the bin and Marcus Smith down receiving treatment as he scored out wide. He converted his own score and the lead was doubled.
It went from bad for worse for John Kingston’s men as Bath scored two more in quick succession and sealed the bonus point before the first quarter of the match expired. Elliot Stooke bundling over from close range before Matt Banahan was on hand to cross following a cheeky Kahn Fotuali’I break.
The tries bookended a denied Tim Visser score as the Scot was ruled to have knocked on in the build up by the TMO.
The Londoners slowly worked their way down field again with a string of penalties and a dominant scrum and were finally rewarded in the 34th minute with a Henry Cheeseman try. The versatile back on the field after earlier replacing Marcus Smith who left for an HIA.
While Quins went in search of more points before the break it was Bath who extended their lead as Burns kicked a penalty from right in front of the sticks to send the Blue and Whites into the sheds ahead 29-7.
In the second spell Harlequins had plenty of possession but consistently failed to do anything with it, and also proved susceptible to Bath attacks from anywhere on the pitch.
The third quarter of the match was one only for the purists however as Bath began to take their foot off the pedal and Quins struggled to find any momentum. The only score in the twenty minute spell a second Burns penalty taking the score to 32-7.
Facing the hefty deficit, the quartered men looked for a spark and they got one through replacement Gabriel Ibitioye who broke free from deep in his own half and had the wheels to score under the posts. The England U20s star impressing in his limited time on field. Lang once again converted to double Quins’ tally.
Kingston handed debuts to Ian Prior and Cameron Holenstein but neither could help their side make further inroads. Late infringements at the breakdown and scrum saw Josh Lewis kick a further two penalties in the final minutes for Bath as they ran out comfortable 38-14 victors on the afternoon. Harlequins slumping to a second straight defeat in the Aviva Premiership following their Anglo-Welsh Cup successes.
They now have an eight day turnaround before they return to The Stoop for a showdown again rivals Saracens in front of a sell out crowd next Sunday 3rd December (kick-off 15:00). The Twickenham outfit will be bolstered by the return home as well as the return of their international contingent in a key fixture ahead of the European break.
The match will be the first of two derbies on the day as it is followed by Harlequins Ladies v Saracens Women immediately after. Read more here.