Will Flinn converted a Will Partington try with the last kick of a pulsating contest to give the IKON Construction-sponsored Blue and Gold a confidence-boosting 27-26 away win at Nottingham Trent University on Friday.
Both teams were desperate to get their first win on the board but it was the visitors who made the stronger start as hooker Tom Doughty (pictured) touched down twice, the first after an incisive break from Craig Duncan and the second from a penalty and driven lineout.
Flinn also added a conversion and a penalty but Nottingham hit back with two tries of their own, one coming from an intercept and the other after the visitors had a player sent to the sin bin, to cut the half-time deficit to 15-12.
Bath again started the second half brightly and another pushover try saw Doughty complete his hat-trick. However, errors crept back into their play and Nottingham took advantage with two converted tries to lead 26-20 with less than ten minutes to go.
The visitors held their nerve, though, and forced a number of penalties before eventually crossing the line through Bath Rugby Academy full-back Partington. Flinn then kicked a brilliant conversion from the touchline to settle a cracking contest.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “It’s really good to get the win and I was very impressed by the character shown by the players, they trusted themselves and stayed true to the game plan.
“We are still giving the ball away to the opposition too easily at times, either through errors or indiscipline, but we continue to work on that. As a group, both the players and coaches recognise that if we can control that then we will be in games more.”
Next up for Bath is a home contest against South West rivals Exeter, last season’s beaten finalists who suffered their first loss of the season last week at the hands of Leeds Beckett.
The match is taking place on the athletics infield at the Sports Training Village on Wednesday (6.30pm) and admission is free once again.
Meanwhile, University of Bath Sports Performance students Darren Atkins, Josh Bayliss and Levi Davis helped Bath Rugby begin their 2017-18 Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a hard-earned 26-22 win at London Irish on Saturday.
Flanker Bayliss and wing Davis were both making their full Blue, Black and White debuts, the latter marking the occasion with a second-half try.
University of Bath hooker Beck Cutting – a first-year Sports & Social Sciences student and Trendell Sports Scholar – also appeared in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as part of a Worcester Warriors side that narrowly lost 24-21 to Sale Sharks on Friday.
It’s also been a good week for University alumni, with Bath Rugby’s Tom Dunn – who studied Sports Performance – being retained in the England squad ahead of the first test of the Old Mutual Wealth Series against Argentina on Saturday (3pm).
The University of Bath men’s rugby programme is sponsored by IKON Construction and supported by Investigo. Click here for more information about our thriving rugby programme.
University of Bath: 15 Will Partington, 14 Finn Murphy, 13 Craig Duncan, 12 Charlie Dunbar, 11 Jack London, 10 Will Flinn, 9 Luca Petrozzi; 1 Arthur Cordwell, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Kieran Verden, 4 Will Britton (c), 5 Scott Russell, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Chris Barry, 8 Steff Osman-Wiggan. Replacements: 16 Jordi den Hartog, 17 Austin Hay, 18 David da Costa, 19 Derryn Jones, 20 Tom Bottoms, 21 Louis Mulholland, 22 Jake Allen.
Tries: Doughty 3, Partington.
Conversions: Flinn 2.
Nottingham Trent University: 15 Max Craven, 14 David Williams, 13 Alex Goble, 12 John Hargreaves (c), 11 Rob Waldron, 10 Will Sutton, 9 Alex Crocker; 1 Jamie Jack, 2 John Broberg, 3 Cecil MacCarthy, 4 Ben Davis-Moore, 5 Tim Cardall, 6 Will Cardall, 7 Seb Cecil, 8 Grant Snelling. Replacements: 16 Tommie Collingwood, 17 Ben Smith, 18 Jacob Turner, 19 Todd Williams, 20 Harrison Wells, 21 Harry Clempson, 22 Baptiste Chamagne.