Team Bath come through tough test after busy exam period to complete BUCS Super Rugby league double over Hartpury
Aaron James praised his Team Bath side’s “work and physicality” after they overcame a tough test from Hartpury to complete a BUCS Super Rugby league double over their West Country rivals.
Converted tries from Duncan Hood, Ellis Horgan and Archie Griffin gave the Bath Building Society-sponsored men’s 1st XV a 21-15 victory in a stop-start match played on the artificial surface at Dings Crusaders RFC in Bristol.
It was the first match of the year for both teams and came at the end of a busy exam period for the student rugby players, with Head of Rugby James saying: “There have been mixed numbers at training because of exams so to come through that and grind out this result is really good.
“It was a bit of a messy win but a win nonetheless. There were bits where we were off today but the defence was really solid, and the work and physicality really got us over the line.”
England U20 squad members Josh Dingley and Sam Harris were both in a strong Team Bath starting XV, the former making his first BUCS Super Rugby start of the season after returning from a long-term injury.
Hartpury got the first points on the board, Joe Winfield slotting over a fifth-minute penalty, but it was Team Bath who scored the opening try moments later, hooker Hood going over from a lineout drive. Harris added a fine conversion from the touchline.
The next 20 minutes set the tone for a scrappy contest, with both sides having sight of their opponents’ try line several times only to be frustrated by good defending or mistakes. The breakthrough finally came in the 33rd minute when, after a sortie of attacks on the Hartpury line, scrum-half Horgan found a gap to dive through and touch down, leaving captain Alfie Garside with a simple conversion to stretch Team Bath’s half-time lead to 14-3.
The second half began in stop-start fashion but finally sprung to life just before the hour mark with two tries in as many minutes. Hartpury got the first, winger Josiah Edwards-Giraud racing over in the corner, but Team Bath responded immediately as prop Griffin – who made his Premiership debut for Bath Rugby just before Christmas – burrowed over following a set-piece move. Garside’s impressive conversion put the home side 21-8 up.
Hartpury kept scrapping away and cut the gap once more with eight minutes to go when flanker Cameron Cobbett forced his way over from close range. Replacement Owen Randell added the extras but Team Bath held firm to see out the win.
They now face a tough run of away trips to Cardiff Met, Durham and Loughborough during February before returning to the Team Bath Sports Training Village on Wednesday 1st March to face Nottingham (6.30pm kick-off, free to watch).
Team Bath starting XV: 1 Ollie Tack, 2 Duncan Hood, 3 Archie Griffin, 4 Josh Dingley, 5 Mackenzie Graham, 6 Tom Cowan, 7 Ethan Staddon, 8 Harry Breeze; 9 Ellis Horgan, 10 Sam Harris, 11 Alex Clayton, 12 Ludo Kolade, 13 Sam Kennaugh, 14 Alfie Garside (c), 15 Luca Mignot. Replacements: 16 Max Pearce, 17 Zak Giannini, 18 Archie McNicol, 19 Will Jeanes, 20 Haydn Barnes, 21 Tom Williams, 22 Archie Friend, 23 Byron Lloyd-Gilmour.
Tries: Hood, Horgan, Griffin.
Conversions: Harris, Garside 2.
Hartpury starting XV: 1 Cam Holenstein, 2 Casey Williams, 3 Christopher D’Oliveria, 4 Daniel Cooke, 5 Liam Le Roux, 6 Cameron Cobbett, 7 Ellis Hart, 8 Matthew Hillary (c); 9 Harry Gipson, 10 Joe Winfield, 11 Oliver Holliday, 12 Bevan Howells, 13 Iestyn Galton, 14 Josiah Edwards-Giraud, 15 Brandon Wood. Replacements: 16 Will Goffey, 17 Charles Short, 18 George Perry, 19 Powell, 20 Tom Worts, 21 Owen Randell, 22 Harri Williams, 23 Wilf McCarthy.
Tries: Edwards-Giraud, Cobbett.
Referee: Matt Sharpe.
Assistant referees: Phil Russell, Ben Simpson.