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Varndell double sets up Tigers win

17 Sep 2005
Varndell double sets up Tigers win

The England Under-21 wing three-quarter, who announced his arrival with a hat-trick in his second senior match against Worcester last season, has now scored 12 in as many appearances for the Tigers.

Leicester literally threw away a commanding 17-6 first half lead as they presented Bath with two gift interception tries which helped the visitors go 23-17 ahead. But Varndell once again in the second half to restore the lead and goal kicking fly-half Andy Goode, finished with 20 points, put the issue beyond doubt.

Varndell’s opening try came when he snatched a pass from Bath full-back Matt Perry, intended for French winger David Bory, and there was no stopping the 20-year old Steve Merchant, who has clocked 10.8 seconds for 100 metres, as he raced in from the half-way line. Olly Barkley replied with two penalties for Bath before Leicester scored their second try.

Geordan Murphy put the visitors on the back foot with a probing kick down the left touchline, Varndell’s pace got him to the ball first and he scooped it up and passed back inside for Irish full-back Murphy to apply the finish.

Goode converted both and kicked a penalty but Bath refused to roll over and were rewarded with an interception try of their own in the 35th minute.

Bory, taking his first start since signing from Castres Olympique during the summer, took a pass from Daryl Gibson, intended for Austin Healy, and made the break to create the try for centre Andy Higgins.

Barkley, who this week reverted to his original kicking style after missing seven out of 13 shots in the opening two matches of the season – abandoning attempts by England kicking guru Dave Alread to remodel his approach – made it three kicks from three with the conversion.

Fly-half Andy Dunne reduced the arrears to one point with a drop-goal before half-time and then in the 54th minute Bath took advantage of a second gift to take the lead for the first time.

Goode’s mistimed pass was taken by Bory who went over in the corner, with Barkley again adding the conversion.

The Tigers’ fly-half quickly made amends with a 58 minute penalty and then, following a spell of sustained pressure, provided the sloping pass which sent Varndell diving over in the left hand corner. Goode converted from the touchline and then added two more penalties – one from inside his own half to put Tigers 30-23 ahead before Barkley pulled a penalty for Bath.

But Leicester had the final say with a try from back-row forward Shane Jennings, again converted by Goode, deep into injury time.

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