Bath Rugby League made the long trip to Portsmouth on Saturday hoping to maintain their winning form but unfortunately it turned out to be a long day at the office for Bath.
It wasn’t a good start to the game when Bath dropped the ball from the kick off to allow Portsmouth easy ball to go over for a try in the first minute, it was pretty much one way traffic on the fast paced 4G surface. The score finished Portsmouth 72, Bath Rugby League 4. Replacement winger James Noott scored a consolation try for Bath in the second half following up a clever over the top Leigh Wheatley kick to touch down half way out, Noott should have scored just minutes before after an overlap had been created down the left flank but the opportunity went begging after a fumble and the ref deemed it to be a ‘knock-on’.
Chris Chatten, Bath Rugby League, Club Coordinator, said “It is always tough making the long trip to Portsmouth, but credit to the players we travelled with a full squad down to the game, which is a massive commitment playing Rugby League at this level. We are also one of the few team who have fulfilled all fixtures in the league so far this season. We are excited about this weekend and want to encourage a large crowd to come down to Chippenham RFC as the lads will want to show Swindon St. George they are better than the team they played a few weeks ago at their place”.
Unbelievably, Bath Rugby League are still confident of sneaking into the end of season play offs, they play their final league game at their Chippenham RFC home on Saturday 29th July, against Swindon St. George who have already secured the league title, but Bath Rugby League will be wanting finish off the domestic season in style in front of their home crowd. The play offs commence the following Saturday 5th August and League Grand/Plate finals follow the week after Saturday 12th August in Bristol.
The second West Of England League train on squad representative training session took place at Chippenham RFC on Sunday and Bath Rugby League were represented by James Fox (Scrum-half), Henry Lyons (Full-back/Wing), Cieran Chester (Full-back/Centre), Henry Beer (Prop/Second Row), Stevan Randall (Second Row), Alex Burns (utility) and Tom Plance (Hooker). Jay Patterson (Prop) is also part of the train on squad and Chris Chatten is Chairman of the programme with James Fox as one of the coaching staff, Fox combines his role with Bath working full time for the Rugby Football League as part of the England support team so bring a wealth of experience with him. The squad will play an East V West internal game to determine their strongest squad as over 60 players are part of the programme currently, then the West of England are just to play an end of season tournament against the Midlands, London, and East regions, and planning is underway regarding a short tour in March 2018.
Tom Plance ex-South Wales Ironmen development and Scotland Student International was retained from last year programme, but others have been spotted playing in league fixtures. Henry Lyons, Henry Beer, Stevan Randall and Cieran Chester are the latest call ups, Chester has previously represented South West students while at University of Gloucestershire while others have come to the sport via Rugby Union, Rugby League is started to build a pathway for players who aspire to play professional rugby league in the South West region.