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Sackey 60th try helps push Wasps towards victory

29 Dec 2007
Sackey 60th try helps push Wasps towards victory

Paul Sackey scored a landmark 60th GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP try as Wasps thumped high-flying Bath 25-10 at Adams Park.

The England wing’s 30th-minute touchdown saw him overtake Neil Back on the all-time list and he added a second touchdown early in the second-half. Only Sale’s Steve Hanley, with 75, stands above him in the rankings.

Sackey’s finishing masterclass was backed up by an early score from Rob Webber while fly-half Danny Cipriani was on target with two penalties and two conversions for the European champions.

The lively Joe Maddock touched down a late try for Bath with Olly Barkley adding a conversion and penalty.

The visiting side’s weakened team sparkled in patches but they were short of too many key men after boss Steve Meehan opted to rest nine of the players who thumped Leeds a week ago, including South African duo Butch James and Michael Claassens, and prolific wing Matt Banahan.

By contrast, James Haskell was the only major name rested by Wasps as they welcomed back Phil Vickery from suspension and handed young prop Tom French his first start at home. Tom Rees was ruled out with flu, forcing hooker Webber into emergency back-row action.

Meehan clearly had one eye on the top of the table clash with west country rivals Gloucester next Friday night, raising fears that Bath were facing a defeat of the magnitude of the 47-18 hiding they conceded here last season.

The first five minutes confirmed that and Wasps went on to establish a 20-0 interval lead as the visitors were unable to control the ball long enough to threaten.

Cipriani kicked them in front in the first minute with a penalty from inside his own half and it took only another two minutes for stand-in flanker Webber to strike after Tom Voyce broke down the right and Sackey went close on the opposite touchline.

Cipriani’s conversion made it 10-0 before both sides became bogged down in midfield, with Bath unsettled by some aggressive defending despite some bright work from Maddock and Nick Abendanon out wide.

They fell further behind on the half-hour, though, when Riki Flutey’s inside break cut Bath open and the ball was shifted right for Sackey to touch down the effort that put him second on the all-time list.

Cipriani stroked over the conversion and then added a penalty three minutes before the break after Danny Grewcock was sin-binned by referee Rob Debney following a scuffle between the two sets of forwards.

The lock was still off the field early in the second half when Barkley finally got Bath on the board with his 30-metre penalty in the 45th minute.

But Wasps were in the ascendancy with Sackey looking for more work. He was rewarded with a second try of the afternoon in the 54th minute when he slid over to touch down a Mark van Gisbergen chip into the corner.

To their credit, Bath defended doggedly after that and replacements Barkley and Isaac Feau’nati added some urgency to their attacking play in the closing stages.

Maddock scored under the posts 10 minutes from time and Barkley slid over in the corner after a brilliant solo run only for Television Match Official Graham Hughes to deny Bath a second try and rule that he had been tackled into touch.

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