Fixture: Team Bath Rugby 1st team vs Swansea University 1st XV
Date and Time: Wednesday 8 February 2012, 2.00pm
Score: Team Bath 19 – Swansea University 13
Venue: Sketty Lane Playing Fields, Swansea University
With the weather being so bitter and cold in the weeks leading up to this game, there was a doubt from all involved as to whether the trip to Sketty Lane would go ahead.
Come the morning of the rearranged game, the University of Bath rugby team boarded the coach in what was arguably the biggest game of their season so far, a BUCS last 16 match with a prize of a home quarter final at stake for the eventual winners.
On arrival at the ground, the focus and determination was suddenly visible on all faces with the warm up looking sharp and precise.
The warm up obviously felt good to the away side as within minutes of the game kicking off, Bath played free flowing rugby causing the Swansea defence all sorts of problems. The attack led to a penalty offence which allowed Bath’s fly half Zak Vinnicombe to step and open the scoring 0-3 to Team Bath.
More pressure came from Bath with precision in everything they did.
Backs were running with skill and pace, forwards going about their job with power and determination. That power and determination soon resulted in a Bath lineout 10 metres out from the Swansea line.
The driving maul was an area in which Bath thought they could out muscle their opponents and sure enough, from the ensuing drive, the Bath forwards scored, 0-8 Bath.
The dream start soon came to an end when Swansea started to play with rugged confidence, being marshalled around by their feisty scrum half.
Once in the correct area of the field, Bath started giving away penalties and after such an occasion, Swansea kicked the ball close to Bath’s line. Two phases later after some strong running, Swansea scored and converted meaning the score was now 7-8 to the away side.
After the half time team talk, Bath was ready to close out the close affair. It was evident to see that pressure was getting to the players with uncharacteristic mistakes occurring from some of the more experienced players. If in doubt the University of Bath rugby team new what to do.
Fly half Vinnicombe kicked for the corners and eventually Bath found themselves in a very strong attacking position. Off a scrum which Bath had dominated all day thanks to the formidable front row of Max Ashcroft, Josh Elliott and Tom Meatyard, the defending Swansea team was under extreme pressure.
Three phases later Bath had got their second try of the afternoon. Unfortunately due to less than ideal kicking conditions, Vinnicombe’s conversion attempt failed meaning the score with half an hour remaining was 7-13 to Bath.
This latest score seemed to spark a flame in the home side’s efforts and they really started to pressure Bath. Penalties were coming thick and fast because of the attacking threats provided by Swansea and it wasn’t long before the scores were tied after two penalty kicks from the Swansea fly half.
This was now a real test of nerve for the University of Bath. The home side was playing really well and the home crowd were getting right behind their team.
Fortunately, the away team spirit and determination to succeed from all 22 players enabled the team to earn two more penalties. Up stepped Vinnicombe and converted them both, despite the breeze coming in off the sea only 200 metres away.
The final score ended Swansea University 13 – University of Bath 19.
Next up for the University of Bath is a home quarter final against Aberdeen University.
There is momentum building within this side and there is no doubt, whoever the University of Bath play, the confidence and style of play make them a very difficult opponent to play.