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Bath keep their heads above water

18 Sep 2004
Bath keep their heads above water

The return of England fly-half Olly Barkley proved vital as the young Bath star weighed in with a personal haul of 16 points to help his side record what could prove to be a vital win.

Worcester scored their first ever Premiership try at Sixways, but handling errors at vital moments cost them dear as they slumped to their third consecutive defeat following their promotion.

The Warriors got off to the worst possible start when fly-half James Brown's floated pass was intercepted by Brendon Daniel and the winger sprinted 50 metres to the line.

Barkley added the conversion to give his side a 7-0 lead after just one-minute.

Worcester's Tommy Hayes kept them in touch with a penalty shortly after, but Barkley's grip on proceedings was beginning to grow and a well-struck drop goal extended Bath's lead.

The hosts continued to compete in the forward exchanges, but handling errors cost them vital opportunities – with Hayes twice losing the ball in good positions.

Bath took full advantage with a Barkley grubber kick catching Worcester cold, allowing centre Mike Tindall to crash over the line for a well-worked try in the opening quarter. Barkley's conversion stretched the lead to 17-3.

Worcester continued to bash away at the Bath defence but to no avail. Instead, they had to be satisfied with a further three Hayes penalties, while Barkley added another three pointer, which gave the visitors a comfortale 20-12 lead at the break.

The only blot on their copybook came on the stroke of half time with Tindall earning a yellow card. It gave the Warriors some hope but another Barkley penalty, just three minutes into the second half, swiftly extinguished it.

But the home faithful soon had reason to cheer, when scrum-half Neil Cole's chip was snaffled up by Brown and he put wing Thomas Lombard over for the Warriors' first ever Premiership try at home.

Hayes duly added the extras, but Barkley soon hit back with another penalty and Tindall's return from the sin bin gave the visitors another boost.

Worcester, though, were beginning to sniff a shock victory and their possession began to see them dictate and even dominate Bath's impregnable lineout partnership of Steve Borthwick and Danny Grewcock.

Indeed, Hayes' fifth penalty, with 15 minutes left, put Worcester within touching distance but the gritty Bath defence held out for a crucial victory.

The scorers:

For Bath:Tries: Daniel, TindallCons: Barkley 2Pens: Barkley 3DG: Barkley

For Worcester:Try: LombardCon: HayesPens: Hayes 5

For more news, try out Worcester Warriors v Bath Rugby

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