Little's last-gasp penalty scrapes a draw for Bath

Bath 20 Leicester Tigers 20: Leicester finally score a try, but Staunton's missed kicks let rivals off the hook

Nicky Little kicked a penalty in the 84th minute to salvage a draw for Bath which may have felt like a moral victory. On the balance of play they deserved better.

A typically attritional contest came to a head in the closing stages and Leicester appeared to have lost the plot when Jeremy Staunton missed a couple of fairly straightforward penalties. However, the Tigers then struck with a breakaway try in the 81st minute. Fielding a clearance kick deep in his own half, Scott Hamilton hoisted an up and under which was brilliantly scavenged by the Tigers and the scrum-half Ben Youngs made the most of the space created with a powerful, swerving run. Youngs completely wrong-footed Bath's defence and his pass to Dan Hipkiss enabled the centre to cross in the right-hand corner.

With Staunton adding the points, Leicester were 20-17 ahead, and that appeared to be that. But Little could not be kept out of the equation. In the 50th minute he had committed a late and high tackle on Geordan Murphy, who needed lengthy treatment. The upshot was a yellow card for Little and a penalty for Staunton which went wide. At the end Little's penalty did not go wide, although he didn't hang about. He drove straight up to Manchester, where his wife is expecting their first child.

Lewis Moody, making his first start of the season, announced his arrival with a thumping tackle on the Bath captain, Michael Claassens, and it was by no means the least of his contributions. The Lions and England flanker seemed to be all over the Rec and his tackle count was impressive. Not as impressive, though, as his skilful sleight of hand which contributed to Leicester's first try of the season. It came in the 26th minute and it meant that the Tigers fell 33 minutes short of establishing a new Premiership record. Northampton's mark, set in 2004, survives. Then, the Saints went 319 minutes without scoring a try.

Leicester avoided that stigma when Geordan Murphy managed to keep the ball alive despite being under pressure and when the attack switched to the left Moody, with his back to his team-mates, delivered a pass through his legs which, under the circumstances, was the perfect solution. With Lee Mears down and injured, his opposite number, Mefin Davies, found himself in splendid isolation on the left wing. The hooker, who is not in the habit of scoring tries, was able to stroll over.

If Coral, who are one of Leicester's sponsors, had said the club would not score a try until their fourth Premiership match, the odds against would have been considerable. Had somebody backed Davies to be the first try-scorer, they would have hit the jackpot.

If the Tigers haven't been crossing the whitewash, nor have they been conceding tries, and they were within nine minutes of creating another record, this one for defensive excellence, when Bath created a try three minutes before half-time. Joe Maddock made headway with a jinking run and Matt Banahan was the beneficiary as he crashed through Johne Murphy and Aaron Mauger for his 16th Premiership try.

The opening to the match had given no clue to the drama that was to follow, as Little and Staunton teed up penalty after penalty. Little's three accurate strikes put Bath 9-3 in front by the 16th minute but Leicester had sauntered ahead within 10 minutes of that, Staunton kicking his second penalty before Moody's handiwork.

Banahan's try, in the 37th minute, wasn't converted by Little, but Bath went in with a 14-13 lead. Three minutes after the interval Little was upended by the extremely large figure of Richard Blaze and the stand-off dusted himself off to increase Bath's lead to 17-13.

Every point,of course, was vital and when Staunton, with the pressure really on, missed twice the Rec began to rock. Against this lot, though, they should have known better.

Bath N Abendanon; J Maddock, M Banahan, S Hape, J Cuthbert; N Little, M Claassens (capt); D Barnes (D Flatman, 55), L Mears (P Dixon, 67), D Bell (A Jarvis, 67), P Short (S Hooper, 55), D Grewcock, J Faamatuainu (A Beattie, 75), B Skirving, J Salvi.

Leicester G Murphy (capt; M Smith, 52); S Hamilton, A Allen, A Mauger, J Murphy; J Staunton, J Grindal (B Youngs, 67); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 67), M Davies, J White (M Castrogiovanni, 49), R Blaze, B Kay (G Parling, 61), C Newby (B Deacon, 78), J Crane, L Moody.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).

Arts and Entertainment
Masterchef cooks Tony Rodd (left), Emma Spitzer (second left) and
Simon Wood (right) posing with judges Gregg Wallace (centre) and John Torode (second right), as the three will be seen cooking their hearts out in the hopes of winning the show.
TVReview: Tired Geography teacher John Torode and shaved Scotch egg Gregg Wallace crown the champion
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week
Life and Style
The Grand Palais in Paris will be transformed into a 4,000-seat cinema, with 44 double beds at the front
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road