Bath 6 Cardiff Blues 14
The Rec Friday 7.40pm EDF Energy Cup
The rain was lashing down at The Rec as Bath kicked off the crunch match against the Cardiff Blues.
A good charge down by Robin Sowden Taylor mean the Blues were able to work their way into Bath twenty two. It was a promising start with Cardiff domination possession and territory. Despite the conditions both teams tried to spread the ball wide.
Good tactical kicking was putting pressure on Bath, and pinning them into their own twenty two. Nigel Owens awarded a penalty for a Bath player holding on in the ruck and from 40 yards Dai Flanagan stepped up and converted.
But it was Bath who nearly scored the first try, when a chip through by Butch James to the blindside, was knocked on by Joe Maddock as he attempted to ground the ball. Excellent defence by the Blues forwards kept out a driving Bath line out, then a good charge by Rush and clearance by Jason Spice eased the pressure. However, Bath pushed their way back and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that Ollly Barkely converted.
The Blues fought back but despite all the hard work done to move their way to the Bath try line, the Blues were dealt a blow when they looked to have scored . The ball slipped out of Jason Spices hands, in the wet conditions, as he went over the try line and Bath were awarded a scrum five.
Bath were again penalised for holding on in the tackle and the Blues were awarded another penalty and Flanagan again converted. However there was just enough time in the half for Barkley to equalise.
HALF TIME BATH 6 CARDIFF BLUES 6
It was a very close game with the conditions playing a part in the match. A high tackle by the Blues resulted in a Bath penalty, but Barkelys effort didnt have the legs.
Minutes later a good chip through by Gareth Thomas gave the Blues good field position and a great break by Jamie Roberts nearly resulted in Tom James sprinting in the corner. However a good tackle by the Bath defence, forced the flyer into touch.
The Blues looked the more threatening and a superb break by Jason Spice looked promising with Rush on his shoulder. However the Kiwi Number 8 was held back by Peter Short who was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Dai Flanagan kicked the goal to give the Blues the lead with 15 minutes to go.
Bath again had the chance to equalise but Barkley struck a penalty wide.
The decisive moment in the match came from a superb break by Jamie Roberts out of his own twenty two. He beat three men, which saw the fullback move up to the half way line before passing to Tom James. The winger cut inside the defence and passed to Andy Powell who was just held short of the try line. However Robin Sowden Taylor was on hand to touch down in the corner to seal the match. Despite the Cardiff Blues winning two matches in their EDF group they failed to reach the semi final as Leicester Tigers beat the Sale Sharks at Welford Road to progress to the last four.
15 Jamie Roberts 14 Tal Selley 13 Gareth Thomas 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Dai Flanagan 9 Jason Spice 8 Xavier Rush (c) 7 Robin Sowden Taylor 6 Maama Molitika (58off) 5 Paul Tito (74off) 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Gary Powell 2 T Rhys Thomas (75off) 1 John Yapp (58on) 16 Gethin Jenkins (58on) 17 Gareth Williams (75on) 18 Scott Morgan (74on) 19 Andy Powell (58on) 20 Ben White 21 Darren Allinson 22 Ryan Howells
CARDIFF BLUES BATH
TRIES R Sowden Taylor x 1
PENALTIES D Flanagan x 3 O Barkley x 1