Bath Rugby 29 Cardiff Blues 19
Friday 5 November, 7.45pm kick off.
The drizzle at the Rec dampened the fireworks as Bath kicked off against the Blues in the LV=Cup first round match.
Bath were dominating early on and the score soon came with a clean break by Ben Williams through the midfield, before he timed his pass to centre Matt Banahan to touch down. Barkley converted.
Gareth Davies soon got some points back with two well taken penalty efforts; however, it wasn’t long before Baths struck back. The ball was turned over just inside the Blues half and a neat kick by Barkley saw winger Tom Biggs sprinting up and gathering cleanly to touch down in the corner. Barkley again converted.
Davies was again accurate with the boot a few minutes later but Bath looked dangerous whenever they had the ball and the Blues were struggling to get out of their own half.
However, the Blues try came from a great piece of counter attacking from Dan Fish. The young fullback caught a Bath chip and hacked downfield. He gathered the ball just yards from the Bath try line and the Blues recycled quickly with Williams passing on to Yapp, who took two men out, and passed on to Gareth Davies to score in the corner. The young outside half converted his touchline try to give the Blues the lead for the first tome in the match.
Despite a heavy downpour both teams were looking to run the ball in what were becoming increasingly difficult conditions. Barkley slotted another penalty and a neatly taken drop goal to restore the Bath lead just before the half time in what was an entertaining match despite the weather.
Half time Bath Rugby 20 Cardiff Blues 16
As the second half started the rain continued and any thoughts of open play soon went out the window with both teams keeping the ball tight and invariably some handling errors crept into the game. John Yapp was yellow carded for using hands in the ruck and Barkley slotted the penalty.
The Blues came close to scoring following some good interpassing between Gareth Davies, Loxton and Gavin Evans but were held just short. However, they were awarded a penalty that Davies converted to narrow the margin.
Barkley slotted two more penalties for the home side and with twenty minutes to go it was looking as if the game was slipping way from the young Blues side. However, they showed great character kicking for the lineout from a penalty. Bryn Griffiths won the ball cleanly and as they drove forward, Thomas Young, who was making his Blues debut off the bench, saw the ball slip out of his hands in the tackle as he went to touch down which the TMO confirmed.
Despite the decision, the youngsters had shown great commitment throughout the match and never gave up. It was an encouraging sign of the talent the next generation of Blues players had despite the result.
Cardiff Blues 15 Dan Fish 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Gavin Evans 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 James Loxton (72off) 10 Gareth Davies (72off) 9 Lloyd Williams (64off)
8 Tom Brown 7 Ben White 6 Andries Pretorius (c) (60off) 5 James Down 4 Bryn Griffiths (70off) 3 John Yapp (72off) 2 Gareth Williams (50off) 1 Tom Davies (72off)
16 Rhys Williams (50on)17 Sam Hobbs (72on) 18 Ian George (72on) 19 Corey Hill (70on) 20 Thomas Young (60on) 21 Tom Slater (64on) 22 Joe Griffin (72on) 23 Owen Williams (72on)
Bath Rugby 15. Jack Cuthbert 14. Jacques Boussuge 13. Matt Banahan (c) 12. Ben Williams 11. Tom Biggs 10. Olly Barkley 9. Mark McMillan
1. David Flatman 2. Ross Batty 3. Duncan Bell 4. John van der Giessen 5. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe 6. Josh Ovens 7. Guy Mercer 8. Ben Skirving
16. Lee Mears 17. David Barnes 18. Aaron Jarvis 19. Peter Short 20. Will Skuse 21. Chris Cook 22. Paul Roberts 23. Nick Scott
Tries G Davies x 1
Pen G Davies x 4
Con G Davies x 1
Tries Banahan x 1 Biggs x 1
Pen Barkley x 4
Con Barkley x 2
D/G Barkley x 1
Yellow Cards: John Yapp
Referee: Greg Garner