Frustrating night for University of Bath as Cardiff Met edge roller-coaster BUCS Super Rugby Severn Derby
A pulsating BUCS Super Rugby game that saw big momentum swings eventually went the way of Cardiff Met as the University of Bath men’s 1st XV suffered a frustrating home defeat on Wednesday.
The hosts, sponsored by IKON Construction and supported by Investigo, got off to a great start as Will Partington converted his own well-taken try (pictured) but two Tom Morgan penalties cut the lead to one at half-time.
Morgan then converted two quick-fire tries from Tom Benjamin and Max Llewellyn inside the opening ten minutes of the second half as Cardiff forged into a 20-7 lead but Bath responded brilliantly and regained their advantage as Chris Barry and Tom Doughty touched down, with Partington adding the extras both time.
Bath failed to take opportunities to extend their lead, however, and paid the price as replacement prop Shawn Howard dived over in the corner late on before Morgan’s penalty with the last kick of the game sealed Cardiff’s 28-21 victory.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We would have liked to start the new year with a home win and it’s disappointing we couldn’t produce that for such a good crowd who turned out on such a cold night.
“We are a bit frustrated with the number of penalties we ended up conceding. We have a changing room of boys who can’t understand the reasons for some of them but I don’t want to take away from the fact that Cardiff Met deserved to win.
“There were a lot of positives to take and it was good to see Jack Edmondson and James Catlin both get a run-out after coming back from injury.”
On a bitterly cold evening at the Sports Training Village, Bath warmed up the crowd by scoring a well-crafted try inside the opening five minutes. A tremendous break by winger Finn Murphy took the play from his own half deep into the Cardiff 22 and when the ball was spread wide, Partington produced some neat footwork to beat his man before touching down.
The full-back added the conversion to put Bath 7-0 up but Cardiff, who sit second in the league, responded well and cut the gap through a Morgan penalty.
With both teams defending their line stoically, that was how things remained until the last kick of the half when another penalty was awarded against Bath and Morgan made it a one-point game at the interval.
It was Cardiff’s turn to start the second period brightly and they took the lead when full-back Benjamin brilliantly took an aerial ball and charged through from the halfway line, fending off a number of tackles to touch down.
Morgan added the extras and did so again when, from a Cardiff lineout, Llewellyn was able to find space to nip in for their second try in four minutes.
Bath found themselves 20-7 down but rallied superbly and put the visitors under immense pressure. Cardiff held them at bay but their resistance was finally breached from a lineout drive, Barry getting the touchdown and Partington adding the conversion.
The momentum was now with the hosts and when Cardiff lost prop Harry Seward to the sin bin, Bath took advantage to score from another lineout drive. This time it was hooker Doughty who dotted down and when Partington kicked a superb conversion from the touchline, the hosts’ one-point lead had been restored.
However, they couldn’t add to their total and grew frustrated as their penalty count grew. That allowed Cardiff to get back on the front foot and they took the lead once more when Howard found space in the corner to touch down.
With the match getting away from them, Bath had replacement props Austin Hay and David da Costa sent to the sin bin in the dying stages, the latter for conceding a penalty which Morgan slotted over with the last kick of the game to seal the win.
Bath have one more home game remaining in the 2017-18 BUCS Super Rugby season, against league newcomers Nottingham Trent on Wednesday, February 7. Kick-off is 6.30pm at the Sports Training Village and admission to spectators is free.
Before that, Bath make the long journey to Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park to face Northumbria University on Wednesday, January 31.
University of Bath: 15 Will Partington, 14 Finn Murphy, 13 Will Hughes, 12 Craig Duncan, 11 Levi Davis, 10 Alex Burrage, 9 Luca Petrozzi; 1 Arthur Cordwell, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Jack Edmondson, 4 Derryn Jones, 5 Will Britton (c), 6 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Barry, 8 Jack Davies. Replacements: 16 James Hadfield, 17 Austin Hay, 18 David da Costa, 19 Scott Russell, 20 James Catlin, 21 Will Flinn, 22 Alex Nesbitt.
Tries: Partington, Barry, Doughty.
Conversions: Partington 3.
Cardiff Met: 15 Tom Benjamin, 14 Jordan Roberts, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Tom Morgan, 11 Max Llewellyn, 10 George Simpson, 9 Ben Williams; 1 Sam Cochrane, 2 Jack Fielding, 3 Harry Seward, 4 Jac Arthur, 5 Edoardo Balocco, 6 Harvey Scott, 7 Jack Ferguson, 8 Aled Evans (c). Replacements: 16 Shawn Howard, 17 Tim Phillips, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Adam Dove, 20 James Reed, 21 Matt Marsh, 22 Harry Johnston.
Tries: Benjamin, Llewellyn, Howard.
Conversions: Morgan 2.
Penalties: Morgan 3.
Referee: Alex Thomas.
Assistant referee: Andy Wigley, Mark Doran.