A try double from young flanker Max Northcote-Green helped Bath Rugby to kick off their LV= Cup campaign in style at the expense of London Welsh.
Northcote-Green’s first score, Olly Woodburn, Matt Banahan and a penalty try ensured Bath had wrapped up the bonus point by half-time at the Rec before Northcote-Green, Richard Lane and Marcus Garratt added to the Exiles’ woe in the second period.
The home side notched seven tries in total – the same number they scored in the Aviva Premiership Rugby clash between the teams earlier this year – and Welsh’s only consolation was Nick Scott’s effort.
Bath made 13 changes from the team that started September’s game against Welsh but they looked in the mood to match that seven-try tally early on.
With just five minutes on the clock, they elected to kick a penalty to touch and from the subsequent line-out their intimidating pack drove over from about seven metres out – Northcote-Green touching down.
Fly-half Gavin Henson’s conversion bounced off the right upright but Bath continued to pile on the pressure.
Prop Nick Auterac was hauled down inches short of the Welsh try-line before Henson made amends for his earlier miss by slotting over a penalty.
At 8-0 down, the Exiles started to find their feet but despite an extended spell of possession, the home side’s defence held firm.
And they soon turned that defensive solidity into more points as Woodburn crossed in the corner.
The young winger showed his finishing prowess to extend his team’s lead and Henson nailed the tricky conversion from tight on the touchline.
David Sisi’s powerful running then almost added a third try but although solid tackling prevented the No. 8 from going over, his team were not to be denied.
Last season’s LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year Ollie Devoto’s powerful burst was stopped short of the try line but Bath were awarded a penalty a few phases later.
After opting for the scrum, their pack had Welsh backpedalling before the visitors cynically collapsed – leaving referee David Procter no option but to award the penalty try.
And things went from bad to worse for the Exiles on the stroke of half-time as Horacio Agulla showed great awareness to avoid going into touch and Banahan finished the move by rumbling over moments later.
Henson’s conversion once again hit the post but that was scant consolation for the visitors as they found themselves 30-0 down at the break.
With the bonus point wrapped up, Bath played even more expansive rugby in the second period and notched their fifth try on 53 minutes.
Banahan used every inch of his 6ft 7in frame to pluck Devoto’s kick out of the air and drove just short of the Welsh try-line before offloading to Northcote-Green who had the simplest of tasks to dot down.
The visitors finally got themselves on the board with just under 20 minutes remaining and it was no more than they deserved.
A patient build-up ended with the ball being spread wide and former Bath winger Scott went over before substitute kicker Will Robinson slotted the conversion between the uprights from the touchline.
The game petered out in the closing stages as the Exiles’ replacement front row showed more resilience than their starting counterparts.
However, there was time for more scores for the home side as Lane went over following a concerted spell of pressure.
Incredibly, Henson’s conversion hit the post for the third time before Garratt notched try number seven on the stroke of full-time and Bath saw out a comfortable victory.
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