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WANDERERS 20 BATH 29 As it happened

Ethan Waller looks to break the Bath line © Linda Dawson

Match Report WANDERERS 20 BATH 29 As it happened

Despite a rousing first half comeback and domination of possession and territory at Franklin's Gardens, there was to be no Aviva 'A' League glory for the Wanderers, the hosts downed by a clinical and star-studded Bath United.

KO
Big welcome for the Wanderers from a packed Tetley's Stand and Sam Olver gets the Aviva 'A' League final underway...
WAND 0 BATH 0

3mins
Bath get quick ball off the top of a line out and with Biggs hitting a good line in midfield, a slip also aids the winger who flies over in the blink of an eye. Simple conversion for Heathcote.
WAND 0 BATH 7

7mins
Bath look to play from the restart but with a pass straying forward, the game has it’s first scrum and the visiting pack crumbles under impact. Crisply struck penalty from Dickson gives the Wanderers a start.
WAND 3 BATH 7

9mins
Abendanon leads a Bath breakaway and while Olver does brilliantly to get back to Henson, the centre just about scrambles into the corner. Danger throughout the visiting back line and it has already showed on the scoreboard. Heathcote again on the mark with the extras.
WAND 3 BATH 14

16mins
Huge pressure on the Bath line from the Wandies, first with a pair of scrums and then sustained phases of play. Good defensive resolve from the visitors though and the chance ends with a knock on.
WAND 3 BATH 14

22mins
Strange to say, but Bath have barely seen the ball, instead scoring with swift breaks from their own half. This time they have got their hands on the ball and though a knock on ends the move after Beech’s break, the home side are punished at the scrum. Poor connection from Heathcote though and the chance is missed.
WAND 3 BATH 14

26mins
Harsh yellow card for Haywood and this time Heathcote does make the most of the penalty.
WAND 3 BATH 17

29mins
The Wanderers star man so far has been Williams and while he overthrows a lineout filling in for Haywood, the flanker loops around the back of Waller, pierces a couple of tackles and finds Dickson with a sublime offload. There’s a huge overlap on the left and after another powerful carry from Harrison, Olver sends Packman sliding over. Super wide conversion from Dickson as well.
WAND 10 BATH 17

31mins
A man and 14 points down, that Wanderers response was certainly a welcome one and the tackles are flying in as they defend as well. A sizeable Gardens crowd is responding with every hit.
WAND 10 BATH 17

40mins
Gargantuan maul from the Wanderers but while Palma-Newport’s decision to cynically pull it down is worthy of a sin binning, there’s no penalty try. The hosts opt for the 5m scrum as the crowd perks up, another penalty is quick in coming…
WAND 10 BATH 17

40+6mins
Huge roar from the Gardens and the Saints first team squad watching on as the inevitable penalty try comes! Dickson levels it up from straight in front and only the half-time whistle halts the Wanderers’ charge back into this game.
WAND 17 BATH 17

HT
Superb half of rugby at the Gardens. While the Wanderers have bossed the half and registered tries through Packman and the pack, they’ll need no further warning of Bath’s running danger in broken play - Biggs and Henson crossing early on. We’re back as we started though and it’ll be a 40min shootout to decide the ‘A’ League champions.
WAND 17 BATH 17

40mins
Game restarts with Olver’s penalty and despite missing touch, the ball is ripped back on the Wanderers’ side for Stephenson and Diggin to make positive carries.
WAND 17 BATH 17

42mins
The rain is steadily coming down now at the Gardens - as if the two sides needed anything to make this game any more difficult! Almost a chance for Packman to blaze away but after one hack forward, Heathcote covers brilliantly albeit at the cost of a scrum on Bath’s 22.
WAND 17 BATH 17

56mins
Still all tied up here but the game is now being played almost exclusively in Bath’s half. A couple of good kicks in behind from Dickson and Day make sure the game stays there, too.
WAND 17 BATH 17

63mins
It’s not about territory and possession, but what you do with it and on their first trip to the Wanderers’ half, Bath come away with maximum points. An absolute brute of a maul rolls some 30m up to the try line and moments later Beech crashes over.
WAND 17 BATH 24

65mins
Wanderers changes; Hooley, Warren and Parkins for Olver, Waller and Denman. The Wanderers have got their own maul motoring and the front foot ball almost allows Packman to scamper down the right touchline.
WAND 17 BATH 24

68mins
Another peach of a kick in behind by Day and with Bath’s clearance only just making it out of the 22, the Wandies maul another lineout to good effect. They’re asking all the questions once more but Bath are standing strong… for now.
WAND 17 BATH 24

72mins
Williams has been in unstoppable mood once again tonight and another of his line-breaking carries yields a penalty. Dickson guides it over from 30m out. Big finish coming up!
WAND 20 BATH 24

74mins
Crucial intervention from Day and Packman to hold Palma-Newport up following Henson’s chip and chase. Bath really making the most of their time in Wanderers territory and with a 5m scrum to play from.
WAND 20 BATH 24

76mins
Great lineout defence from the Wanderers 5m from their own line and Gilbert can’t help having a pop at van Velze. Play back in the Bath half but Skelcey is dragged to touch and possession is lost.
WAND 20 BATH 24

78mins
The hosts counter with intent but when Bath turn possession over, forwards get the ball wide and Lane dashes home to surely win it for Bath.
WAND 20 BATH 29

FT: WAND 20 BATH 29
Bath hoof it to the stands and are the ‘A’ League champions for 2013 - many congratulations to them.

But while the Wanderers’ campaign ends in disappointment, it’s been a fine one. Plenty of faces for the future and most of all some excellent rugby to get this far. A real indication of how much depth there is in the squad at Franklin’s Gardens now and a run to be proud of.

TIMELINE
3mins BATH Try Biggs Con Heathcote 0-7
7mins WAND Pen G Dickson 3-7
9mins BATH Try Henson Con Heathcote 3-14
22mins BATH Miss pen Heathcote
25mins WAND Yellow Haywood
26mins BATH Pen Heathcote 3-17
29mins WAND Try Packman 10-17
40mins BATH Yellow Palma-Newport
40+6mins WAND Try Penalty Con G Dickson 17-17
HALF-TIME WAND 17 BATH 17
63mins BATH Try Beech Con Heathcote 17-24
68mins WAND Pen G Dickson 20-24
78mins BATH Try Lane 17-29
FULL-TIME WAND 20 BATH 29

WAND: Diggin; Packman, Stephenson, G Dickson, Artemyev; Olver, A Day; E Waller, Haywood, Denman, Verbakel, Woolford, Harrison, Williams, van Velze

Reps - McMillan, Warren, Parkins, Onojaife, Harry, Glynn, Hooley, Skelcey

BATH: Abendanon; Lane, Clark, Henson, Biggs; Heathcote, Young; Beech, Dunn, Palma-Newport, Ewels, Caldwell, Ellis, Gilbert, Skuse

Reps - Woolstencroft, Jamieson, Clarke, Northcote-Green, Cook, Devoto, Beer

Referee: Darren Gamage

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