Bath Rugby League secure home Semi Final with win over Swindon St. George ‘A’
Bath Rugby League have had a mix season of results with some extremely close games during the earlier West of England pool stages of the competition and most recently the West of England Championship Fives competition – a win against Swindon St George ‘A’ would see Bath Rugby League take a Home Semi Final against the same opposition on August 4th.
Bath came flying out of the blocks from the kick off showing their intent with two quick tries in the opening minutes coming from Winger Arbury and Halfback Michael Harrison, Captain Leigh Wheatley was kicking duties for the afternoon but missed the first from wide but converted the second. (0-10)
Swindon St George ‘A’ would soon have a run attack and put the visitors under some pressure before being able to turn over ball and build there way out of the half. The ball was moved wide and the young Winger Joe Wildman was able to cross over, Wheatley adding the extras. (0-16)
The next score came from a trademark run from Prop Brandon Ball when he was able to crash his way through to carry several would be tacklers across the line, Wheatley again on hand to add the extras. (0-22)
It was the home side who would be on the scorecard next as they continued to battle hard when Swindon St George’s halfback was able to put his Centre through a gap, the extras being added. (6-22)
Unforced errors would continue to give Swindon St George more territory but Bath’s defence held strong – and during the next set Bath’s Ali Frost was able to run a hard line in off Halfback Harrison and he’d run in from the 30 evading the fullback to dot down fr his first try for Bath. Wheatley adding the extras. (6-28)
It was the mercurial James Arbury who was on the score sheet next with three converted showcasing his evasiveness and speed to cross the line, Wheatley adding the extras (6-46) however a lapse in concentration Swindon St George were able to get a try of their own with the strong carries and runners breaking through the Bath line. (10-46)
Bath continued to build well in the sets and were soon giving another try when Hooker Luc Thomas sniped from the base of a tackle and sprint to the try line, Wheatley again adding the extras. (10-52)
Half Time Score: Swindon St George ‘A’ 10 – 52 Bath Rugby League
Bath continued the second half as they’d finished the first with Arbury once again showing his pace and strength to cross over for a further two more tries (10-62)
The visitors were now playing expansive rugby with Wheatley and Harrison orchestrating the plays, strong carries from Johnny king and Alex Dare-McConnell would gain the side huge metres before the ball was played wide across the back line.
Centre Kyle John and Prop Brandon Ball scored would break through to score next with the centre breaking down the wide channel and Ball with another signature strong carry. (10-74)
A brace of tries from Fullback Steven Grant, Forward Ben Thyer and another two tries from Harrison culminated again from some great possession and building of plays.
Forward Johnny King was able to find a gap and break through and just before being tackled was able to put a wide pass away to Winger Wildman who dived over in the corner.
The final try of the day came from Halfback Harrison who crossed the white wash with Wheatley adding the extras before the final whistle was blown.
A special thank you to Swindon St George ‘A’ who battled hard during game and thanks to their hospitality after the game.
Final Score: Swindon St George ‘A’ 10 – 108 Bath Rugby League
Head Coach Alex Burns commented “This season has seen Bath make huge strides forward both on and off the pitch. The resilience the side has shown through a period difficult results has been outstanding and something the boys should take huge pride in. It has been evident from the sidelines the progress we have made, which is hard for the players when dealing with the disappointment of losses. However Saturday was a culmination of all the hard work the players have put in all season. It’s a perfect springboard for the play-offs and an opportunity for us to improve on last season by making the grand finals.”
Bath Rugby League will now face the same side (Swindon St. George ‘A’) in the West of England Championship Semi Final at Home (Melksham RFC) on Saturday 4th August with the winners taking on Cheltenham Phoenix RL in the West of England Plate Final at Dings RFC on Saturday 11th August