Bath's late escape
Sunday 05 November 1995
THE North almost lived up to its growing reputation as the giants' graveyard once more yesterday. Quins went down here in mid-October, Wasps failed at Orrell a week ago, and it looked, after 36 minutes of the second half, as if Bath would lose their unbeaten record to a Sale side five points up and with a head of steam.
But Bath always have emergency rations of strength, weight and talent, and simply by raising their work-rate they scored 17 points - two goals and a penalty goal - in the last 10 minutes. The final margin looked comfortable, but it was wrung out of what John Hall acknowledged was the best side Bath had played against this season.
Sale did not allow them to call up these resources earlier on. Except for a three-minute spell early in the second half, when scores were level, Bath were trailing and under pressure from the clean take of Dave Baldwin in the middle of the lineout and of John Fowler at the front, and the quickness of Neil Ashurst around the set-pieces. The one manoeuvre in which Bath excelled was in using their bulk to roll the ball upfield in the maul. But Sale reduced their opportunities by keeping the ball away from them for long periods both by their perseverance in the line- out and through Paul Turner's brilliant use of the touchline.
Bath have always had enormous strength among the backs, and on yesterday's evidence this was crucial in the final quarter of an hour. By that time Sale's powers were diminished by tiredness and injury - Baldwin was off the field and there were walking wounded among their backs.
Bath won the toss and set Sale to play towards a low, hanging sun. But that was the only way they dazzled them. In the first half Rob Liley and Jonathan Callard exchanged two penalties apiece, but it was Sale who got the try. From Ashurst's kick into the corner, Sale took the line-out against the throw, twice went to ground and won back the ball. Finally, Jim Mallinder came into the line to score the try to break the impasse.
When Audley Lumsden enabled Bath to level the scores, put across in the corner by Callard, Sale replied within three minutes when Jos Baxendall took a pass at his fingertips, and his momentum carried him over. In the last 20 minutes, though, Sale were beginning to struggle. Bath's discipline was holding, as though they were convinced that they would win.
It was Callard who gave them back the lead, coming in on the left for a try from a line which the now departed Baldwin would have expected to win. Then a break and kick-ahead by Jeremy Guscott put Lumsden over for his second try. Callard converted both tries and still had time to add an unnecessary penalty.
Sale: J Mallinder (capt); R Liley, J Baxendell, G Higginbotham, C Yates; P Turner, M Warr; A Yates, S Diamond, A Smith, J Fowler, D Baldwin, P Hewitt, N Ashurst, C Vyvyan.
Bath: J Callard; A Lumsden, P de Glanville (capt), J Guscott, A Adebayo; R Butland, I Sanders; D Hilton, G Dawe, V Obugu, M Haag, N Redman, A Robinson, S Ojomoh, B Clarke.
Referee: C Rees (London Society).
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
Latest in Sport
Tottenham to use controversial blood-spinning technique to speed Jan Vertonghen return
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Not all right on the night
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Boutique Practice...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher York.(Full-tim...
£62000 Per Annum plus benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client ba...
£70 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Group: Cover SupervisorImmediate startLo...