Throwback Thursday – Final Day: Harlequins 19-16 Bath
The final day of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season will see all six games kick-off simultaneously as the curtain comes down on another regular season.
There is just one last play-off spot available with Harlequins and Northampton Saints both still in the running for that vital fourth place.
The stakes are high for both clubs but it is not the first time that Harlequins have been involved in a final-day decider.
The 2013-14 season saw them pull off a remarkable 19-16 home win over Bath Rugby to leapfrog the west countrymen into fourth.
Northampton can make sure that doesn’t happen this time if they claim a bonus point win over Exeter Chiefs but if they lose and Harlequins take a win from the Ricoh Arena against Wasps – it could all be happening again.
🚨Quins members – the deadline to renew your seat is Monday.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) May 11, 2019
Let’s take a look back at that memorable final day, five years ago at The Stoop:
Harlequins, champions two seasons before, were doing their utmost to impose their high tempo game and it was the hosts who drew first blood.
Just a few metres short of the Bath try-line, Danny Care spun a superb long pass out to Mike Brown who raced over in the left-hand corner on 16 minutes.
Incidentally, of the backs to start in that game, it is only Brown and Care who remain on Quins’ books this season.
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Meanwhile the only man able to register a point for Bath on the day was George Ford who has of course now returned to Leicester Tigers.
And Ford got off the mark by matching Brown’s effort and dancing through the Quins defence, evading tackle after tackle before going over under the posts and slotting the easy conversion.
On 32 minutes, Nick Evans had the chance to restore Harlequins’ lead with a penalty but he pushed it wide, although three minutes later he was given another opportunity and this time he made no mistake to send the hosts in at the break 10-7 to the good.
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) May 13, 2019
Soon after half-time, Nick Abendanon made a piercing break towards the try line, capitalising on a slip from Joe Marler before referee Wayne Barnes awarded Bath a penalty and Ford levelled things up from the tee.
On 44 minutes, Bath found themselves down to 14 men however when Matt Banahan was sent to the sin-bin and not long after, Quins were back ahead.
Brown chased his own chip and with penalty advantage, Quins almost forced their way over, only for play to be brought back and Evans to add three from the tee.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, Ford trimmed the gap to three but almost immediately, Evans responded in kind to keep his side six points to the good.
But from the restart, Bath replacement Semesa Rokoduguni won a penalty for the visitors and once more Ford brought his side to within three points on 70 minutes.
Ford did attempt a last-ditch drop-goal after the clock had turned red but it never looked close to hitting the target as Quins nabbed the last remaining play-off spot and left Bath wondering where it all went wrong.