Harlequins ensured their unbeaten home start to the Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign went on as Tim Swiel’s late penalty secured a dramatic finish against Bath Rugby.
The fly-half made no mistake despite the unenviable distance from the tee, kicking straight and true with just minutes to go at the Stoop as Bath fell to a second Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat of the season.
Tim Visser scored early on, but despite enjoying the better of the play, Quins struggled to make the scoreboard reflect their time in Bath’s 22.
And it was that which they almost rued come the break, Kane Palma-Newport’s score closing the gap to 11-10 at the break.
And while Karl Dickson and Nathan Catt exchanged tries, it was left to South African Swiel to seal the deal with just a couple of minutes remaining – a fifth win of the league season.
The Table as it Stands: Harlequins back into the Top 6 after home win pic.twitter.com/3kYWWE6tZa
— Harlequins (@Harlequins) November 27, 2016
It seemed it would be a more comfortable game when Visser opened the scoring after just three minutes, making the most of a strong scrum as Nick Evans – on his 200th appearance – worked the ball nicely.
But with the game tight, Bath forced their way back when Semesa Rokoduguni collected to nearly run the length of the pitch, though an infringement allowed Tom Homer to dissect the posts.
That kick was soon traded by Swiel, then adding his tally five minutes later after Bath were caught offside.
But Palma-Newport ensured the visitors finished the half with a flourish, the prop marauding his way through, a try converted to narrow the margin.
It was momentum Bath were able to carry through to the second period, taking the lead when Homer kicked again from the tee following an offside.
But despite their possession, a quick Quins break saw the game to and fro once more, Dickson dotting down for a second try.
Catt then put Bath 20-18 ahead when he scored with less than 15 minutes on the clock, the TMO finding no reason not to award the try after a grounded ball, the subsequent conversion slotting in off the post.
TRY BATH!! Yes! Nathan Catt the scorer under a pile of bodies, and Homer adds the conversion – with a little help from the post!
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) November 27, 2016
And just as it seemed the points were lost, it was Swiel that came to the rescue for Harlequins when they won a penalty from distance, the fly-half converting with a straight kick that sailed over the posts to put them narrowly ahead on 21-20.
Still Bath were not to give up, jangling the nerves in the home camp with a missed kick into touch, though a loose turnover saw the home fans jubilant to see the ball sail into the Twickenham sky.