On Saturday 16th June Bath Rugby League travelled away to Somerset Vikings who play their home fixtures at Hornets RFC, Weston a very attractive ground with a synthetic pitch. These pitches can sometimes be unforgiving to players though as Bath picked up a number of injuries and leg grazes.
The coaching staff had a challenge in picking the team as they had a number of players missing due to commitments to a number of teams participating in Frome 7s the same day. However, Bath possibly had one of the strongest 13 starting squad they have had all season and started with a bang with former Bristol Rugby player on debut for Bath, James Hall going over out wide successfully converted by Huw Parks who was also having his first run out of the season after returning from Australia. Somerset reacted quickly and it was soon 6-6. Bath were playing expansive Rugby and it wasn’t long before the ball was swung wide for another new signing Tom Hill to go over in the corner. Parks was unable to convert this one so the score remained 10-6 to Bath, but again Somerset scored a converted try to go ahead 12-10. Bath had the last word in the first half with Huw Parks going over for a typical hookers try to go in at half-time 14-12 ahead after missing the conversion.
At the opening of the second half Bath were beginning to tire due to a lack of fresh legs with Somerset going in for two successive tries with one converted taking the score to 22-14 in their favour. Huw Parks scooted in for another typical hookers try this time going in near the sticks, this time successfully converting his own try taking the scores to Somerset 22, Bath 20 with all to play for. Again, Somerset hit back with a converted try for them to go 8 ahead, Somerset 28, Bath 20. Bath still had the desire to recover with another debutant Ryan Goodman storming through the defence from 30 metres out, Huw Parks was on target with the boot this time to bring the score back to Somerset 28, Bath 26. Bath were beginning to have a number of players going down injured and had to play with less players on the pitch than Somerset so it was almost inevitable they would score again and did so to take the score to Bath 26, Somerset 32. The next play Somerset were given a penalty, but to everyone’s surprise including some of the Somerset players they elected to kick for goal 5 metres out when they had 13 players against Bath’s 10. Shortly after this Huw Parks went down with a head injury and the senior therapist called the game off on medical grounds due to the volume of injuries with 9 minutes to go.
Matt Bodey, Assistant Coach, commented regarding the performance, “For a weekend where we knew we would struggle for depth, I was really impressed with the performance that the guys put in. Leading at half time against the team top of the pool is something we can be proud of and really work from, even though injuries did get the better of us and we had to call the game off”.
A club spokesperson said, “With the Pool rounds coming to an end Bath RL will now look forward to the Championship 6’s where they will compete against other teams from across the West of England Division hoping to cap off the season with some silverware.”