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Tykes stun Bath in basement battle

08 Jan 2006
Tykes stun Bath in basement battle

It was a game Phil Davies’ men simply had to win and they duly delivered with a dogged display in their 100th Premiership game.

Chris Bell’s second-minute try helped the Tykes establish a 16-6 interval lead against a spirited Bath side who reduced their arrears to two points after the break.

But Leeds ultimately proved too strong and recorded only their third league victory of the season to move within two points of Brian Ashton’s men.

The Tykes made the perfect start after being gifted the opening try with barely two minutes on the clock.

Poor handling from Bath full-back Matt Perry on the halfway line allowed Leeds centre Rob Vickerman to seize possession and find Bell with a neat offload.

The Tykes wing scampered down the left flank to ground in the corner for a try converted superbly by the outstanding Gordon Ross.

Bath came back strongly, however, and Olly Barkley’s seventh-minute penalty got them off the mark following a brief spell of pressure.

But the Tykes edged further ahead soon after when Ross kicked a 40-metre penalty.

Leeds were buoyant and began to show the doggedness which served them so well towards the end of last season, when victories in their last five games preserved their Premiership status.

The Headingley faithful believed Leeds had their second try of the game on 22 minutes when Justin Marshall’s close-range offload allowed giant prop Kees Lensing to crash over the line.

However, the score was ruled out for an apparent forward pass by New Zealand legend Marshall and Bath breathed a huge sigh of relief.

There was precious little respite for the visitors as Leeds continued to enjoy the majority of possession, forcing the visitors to concede another penalty on 29 minutes which Ross again converted.

Leeds had the momentum but Bath hit back four minutes before the interval when Barkley converted another penalty, only for Ross to kick his third penalty of the half to send Leeds in 16-6 ahead at the break.

Neither side managed to find any rhythm after the break but after Michael Lipman had a try disallowed for the visitors, Bath number eight Gareth Delve touched down in the left-hand corner after 53 minutes.

Barkley missed the conversion but he kicked another penalty shortly before the hour mark to reduce the arrears to 16-14.

The pendulum eventually swung back to Leeds after 68 minutes when Ross converted another penalty to give the Tykes a little breathing space.

He then added a drop goal four minutes later and another penalty in the closing stages to give Leeds an ultimately impressive 25-14 victory.

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