Bath v Northampton Saints

Last night saw the return of the Premiership Rugby after a break of 4 weeks for European and Anglo-Welsh Matches.

Although, most teams returned with a few familiar faces missing due to international commitments for the Six Nations.  Northampton Saints were missing England Captain Dan Hartley, Tom Wood who would be facing team mate, George North in Cardiff; while Louis Piccamoles would be representing France in their battle against the Scots.  However Teimana Harrison made a welcome return as he had not been selected for England’s second round match against the Welsh.

The Saints side would see Ben Foden on the wing first time in over a decade as they took to the field for a challenging match.  Saints not lost twice in a season against bath for 16 years and on a cold winter’s  evening taking to the pitch as flakes of snow were falling they aspired to maintain that position.

Harrrison had returned on good form with the Saints initially taking possession with a quick ball pushing forward; the drive to the line was short lived with an early conceded penalty, the score board reaming at 0-0.

Harry Mallinder who, after returning from injury, in recent games has shown growing strength as a team player appeared to show caution at times to avoid contact with his left shoulder.  Bath appeared aware of Mallinders weakness.

An unconverted try 10 minutes in gave the Blue, White and Blacks and early home lead, short lived due to the kicking skills of Myler who successfully kicked 2 out of 2 penalties over the posts.  In reply Bath scored another try this time successfully converting.  This would shortly be followed by a penalty try awarded for a collapsing scrum.   One more penalty kicked by Myler just before the 40 minute whistle saw the teams go in 19-9 at half time.

There was to be a lot of action in the second half; Bath adding another 3 points for a penalty shortly followed by a Foden Try for Saints paired with a magnificent conversion from Myler.  65 minuets in Bath were to find themselves a man down with Kane Palma-Newport shown the yellow card by Wayne Barnes.  Saints were now finding their feet,  to take advantage of this with another converted Try at 68 minutes, Bath swiftly responded with a try of their own.  When Gibson got the meters from the scrum at 73 minutes it looked like the game could have be won when Saints went a point ahead with another converted try.

A bad handling error from Dickson not quite kicking the ball out of touch let Bath regain possession, it all looked to be over when they had the opportunity of a penalty at 78 minutes, when Priestland missed it could have given Saints the chance they needed but the ball stayed with Bath.  When a penalty was awarded in the final seconds Priestland was not going to waste another opportunity and took Bath to a 32-30 win.




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