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Saints snatch victory at The Rec

10 Sep 2005
Saints snatch victory at The Rec

The west country side’s troubles continue, however, and confidence visibly drained away as they slipped to their second defeat in six days in the new Guinness Premiership.

This time there was not even the consolation of a losing bonus point and again the finger was being pointed at their goalkicker Olly Barkley and Chris Malone, who missed six kicks between them.

Northampton, so disappointing against Leicester last week, this time fronted up in the forwards and actually finished the stronger unit.

Fly-half Carlos Spencer made light of the soaking conditions to control the game with a full array of incisive passes and clever kicks.

Bath in contrast were totally bereft of ideas and it was Malone’s mistake which allowed Mallon to snatch a loose ball out of the air and sprint 75 metres in the 72nd minute.

Surprisingly for the first game of the season at the Recreation Ground there were empty spaces around the tracing, seemingly an indictment of the way Bath have been performing of late.

Nothing seemed to go right for them. They recruited Tongan winger Salesi Finau from Llanelli in midweek but he found himself in the sin-bin after just two minutes for a professional foul and Bruce Reihana opened the scoring with a 30-metre penalty.

There was little action to admire on both sides for the first 20 minutes and Barkley and Reihana swapped penalties to leave Northampton 9-6 ahead on the half hour.

In the meantime Saints had lost number eight Daniel Browne to the sin-bin for a late and dangerous challenge on the bath’s flanker James Scaysbrook.

Northampton continued to infringe but Barkley and Malone missed a succession of penalties until Reihana put Northampton 12-6 ahead after 65 minutes.

Barkley finally found his range and accuracy to pull back a penalty on the hour and was handed another chance seven minutes later. As he stepped up the ball fell off the tee and the chance was lost.

Mallon’s try followed soon afterwards and even though Reihana’s conversion attempt hit the post Northampton eased their way to four points.

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