Bath Rugby League welcomed Cheltenham Phoenix to Oakfields on Saturday in the first round of the Championship Fives, the sides hadn’t met before but like Bath the visitors had held their own in a very tough Pool Group with the All Golds, Forest Bulldogs & Swindon St. George ‘A’.
The home side were still searching for their first win of the season following many close battles with some of the top teams within The West of England league and had prepared well during the week.
It was Bath who were on the scoreboard first after a fantastic set which saw Hooker Luc Thomas score in the corner, unfortunately the kick just going wide. It was only a few minutes later that Bath scored there second of the day when Prop Brandon Ball crashed through multiple would be defenders to cross over the line, this time Leigh Wheatley adding the extras.
The home side were able to pin Cheltenham deep into their own 20 following good sets and accurate kicking from the halves.
The visitors always looked threatening when they had ball in hand and caught the defence napping from a scrum which lead to Cheltenham first try of the day, which was duly converted.
Winger Steven Grant looked to have dotted down in the corner following a kick through from Wheatley but was deemed to have knocked out of play.
With a scheduled water break at the 20 min marker (due to the extremely hot day) Bath attacked again with Half Back Connor Breen darting through the defensive line to score under the posts, Wheatley adding the kick.
The well needed water break gave Cheltenham Phoenix a much needed rest bite and with that came out firing after the 20 minute marker taking control of the remainder of the half crossing 3 times with all kicks being successful and now holding onto a narrow lead going into the half time break.
Half Time: Bath Rugby League 22-24 Cheltenham Phoenix
Bath came out well in the second and it didn’t take long before the side were able to get themselves into good field position, where Jack Williams found himself crossing over after bursting through the tackles. Although Cheltenham replied to this shortly after with a converted try of their own.
Bath were able to soak up the next set of plays and it was on the return set Kieran Harvey was able to get himself across the line with Breenadding the kick from wide. With the next few sets of play being held in the centre of the pitch it was Cheltenham who next scored with a break wide, the kick being added.
It was a tight contest in the run up to the next water break but Winger Grant was able to latch onto a wide pass from Centre Mike Rutt to dive into the corner. However the yo-yo’ing of tries between the two sides hadn’t stopped and the visitors were next on the scorecard adding another 3 tries before Bath answered with Second Row Connor MacPherson finding the gap to cross over, Connor Breen kicking well added the extras. Unfortunately time was running out for Bath to make up for the earlier lapses and the final whistle was blown.
Full Time: Bath Rugby League 42-60 Cheltenham Phoenix
This Saturday Bath travel to Southampton Spitfire in Round 2 of the Championship Fives hoping to make up for the loss and put in a solid 80min fixture. The last time the two sides met Bath came out eventual winners at home but know that a trip to Southampton is always never an easy fixture.
If you are interested in playing, sponsoring, partnering or getting involved with the club in other way please contact Chris tel: 07810 552196 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org – The club train at Avonvale RFC in Bath, training nights have now moved to Monday’s 7pm