Fixture: University of Bath Rugby 1st XV vs. UWE Hartpury 1st XV
Date: Wednesday 2 November 2011 at 14:00
Score: University of Bath 19 UWE Hartpury 3
Venue: Sulis Sports Club, University of Bath
Momentum has been building for the University of Bath’s 1st XV with an undefeated league campaign so far and the latest fixture against rivals UWE Hartpury would prove to be the toughest opposition yet.
On a blustery afternoon at the Sulis Sports Club, a confident Hartpury team arrived to lay down the challenge of physical, no nonsense rugby to a Bath team who are beginning to make the Sulis Sports Club a difficult place to play for any team.
From the kick off, it was no surprise to see the Hartpury team play fast, hard, physical rugby in both attack and defence with some strong running with ball in hand, and ferocious tackling which let the Bath players know it was going to be a tough afternoon.
As the first half progressed, it proved to be a very close encounter with the weather playing a huge part in the way the game was played.
Bath’s fly half Zak Vinnicombe broke the deadlock with an outstanding long range penalty from the half way line which sailed through the posts, no easy feat considering the power of the wind.
The first half continued in the same fashion of physical rugby with neither defence allowing the opposition attack to make yards.
A soft penalty conceded by Hartpury allowed Vinnicombe to add another three points to the score, meaning Bath were leading 6-0.
As the half neared the end, Hartpury put the pressure on Bath’s defence, but with outstanding tackling from all members of the team prevented the opposition from crossing the line, but with such eagerness to make tackles, the referee judged a Bath player to be offside which resulted in Hartpury’s number 10 to kick an easy penalty meaning the half time score was Bath 6 – Hartpury 3.
The second half started in similar fashion with outstanding physical defence. Hartpury were on the attack, making ground but what can only be described as a monster tackle from Bath centre Ben Loosemoore forced the Hartpury player to knock the ball on.
From the resulting scrum, Bath went wide on the attack and Loosemoore crashed through would be defenders forcing the opposition to give away a penalty, and that man Vinnicombe stepped up and knocked another three points over, Bath 9 – Hartpury 3.
It was at this time that Bath’s superior fitness was beginning to tell when Hartpury’s defenders were unable to stop the oncoming Bath attackers again setting up another position for Vinnicombe to score three points from another penalty, Bath 12 – Hartpury 3.
Towards the end of the match, Hartpury were throwing everything at Bath’s defence and Bath were holding strong.
Bath’s defensive line speed over recent weeks has been outstanding, being led by the dynamic centre partnership of Tosh Masson and Loosemoore.
It was at this point that that man Vinnicombe stepped up to the plate once again to secure the award of man of the match. He read Hartpury’s attacking play and intercepted the ball and sprinted around 70 metres to dive dramatically through the posts to secure the victory for the Bath team.
He converted his own try to make the final score University of Bath 19 – UWE Hartpury 3.