Barkley makes unlucky Irish pay the penalty

London Irish 24 Bath 25

Surprise has been writ large on the new year already. Upsets in the Midlands and the North while, in Reading yesterday, Bath discovered the away win that had eluded them since the first day of the Aviva Premiership last September.

Not until the final seconds did Olly Barkley, with his sixth penalty goal, nail the result which left London Irish flabbergasted and winless in nine successive games. The collapse of Irish fortunes has been remarkable: they won eight of their first nine games in all competitions.

Yesterday they dominated the first half hour, should have been further ahead than 10-0 and Bath had to wait 28 minutes for their first penalty. But the Irish could draw no inspiration from their advantage on the scoreboard and were drawn into Bath's pick-and-go game.

You would not have thought Bath started with five international backs, so little did they use them. Brian Smith, the England attack coach, saw nothing he did not already know from Shontayne Hape or Matt Banahan, more perhaps to confirm Delon Armitage's place in the squad for the Six Nations.

"Belief and confidence grow after getting the monkey off your back and maybe on another day we can play a bit more stylish rugby," the Bath coach, Steve Meehan, said. "But if we have to win every game like that, wewill do it."

Toby Booth, his opposite number, had to bite his lip as fortune swung away from his team during the period that Richard Thorpe, the Irish flanker, was in the sin bin. "I wish I was Brendan Venter right now," he said, a nod to the outspoken Saracens director of rugby who has been in hot water for criticising match officials.

His players scored three tries to one: the first, after less than two minutes, was finished powerfully by Sailosi Tagicakibau after Bath coughed up possession. The second was a delight, Elvis Seveali'i looping round George Stowers for the return ball and Delon Armitage sending Thorpe to the corner.

Only Barkley's kicking kept Bath in touch and when Thorpe was dismissed for pulling down a maul, finally Simon Taylor's pass gave Michael Claassens a glimpse of the home line and what was only Bath's 12th try of the Premiership season.

Barkley's fourth penalty put Bath ahead but the centre rushed up too hastily as the Irish brought Topsy Ojo in from the blind-side wing, leaving Ojo to purr through the hole to the posts. But the Exiles could not deny Bath the ball and, driven forward by Luke Watson whose captaincy means so much to them, the West Country club completed a Premiership double.

London Irish D Armitage; T Ojo, E Seveali'i, D Bowden, S Tagicakibau; C Malone (S Mapusua, 65), P Hodgson (capt, D Allinson, 65); A Corbisiero (D Murphy, 70), J Buckland, F Rautenbach (C Dermody, 60), N Kennedy, M Garvey (R Casey, 66), R Thorpe, G Stowers (K Roche, 66), S Armitage.

Bath J Cuthbert; M Carraro, O Barkley, S Hape (N Abendanon, 70), M Banahan; A James, M Claassens (M McMillan, 72); D Barnes (D Bell, 46), L Mears (P Dixon, 70), D Wilson, S Hooper, D Grewcock (I Fernandez Lobbe, 60), L Watson (capt), S Taylor, L Moody.

Referee G Garner (Warwickshire).

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup