London Irish 23 Bath 44 match report: George Ford's mastery steers Bath into highly promising territory

 

the madejski stadium

Time had all but run out when Bath scored the bonus-point try that may yet be crucial to their aspirations for a place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs. There remains a decent gap between the top two clubs, Saracens and Northampton, and the next pair, Bath and Leicester (who play today), but the West Countrymen's challenge remains strong.

Their second half turned the game inside out. London Irish, playing in front of their biggest crowd of the season, trailed by only a point at the interval but when Bath picked up the pace, their hosts could not live with it. Throw in the game management of George Ford, never mind the 24 points that came from his boot, and this may become the most formidable Bath side since they won the Heineken Cup in 1998.

Young Ford has never lacked confidence and the contrast between him and Shane Geraghty was stark: Geraghty strains for space and once found it to create a try for Topsy Ojo, but Ford moves people and the ball around the field like a chess grand master.

Since he also brought off 13 tackles in a channel on which opponents have tried to capitalise, Ford's all-round game was immaculate. The Irish, moreover, contributed to their own demise with a player in the sin bin in each half, though the second yellow card, to George Skivington, came too late to affect the game.

Brian Smith, their director of rugby, was critical of his team for a poor response after Bath's second try, which be believed was illegal because of blocking by two other Bath players. It was made by Nick Abendanon and scored by Anthony Watson, the London Irish old boy, but the video official failed to find any obstruction.

The start and finish of the first half encapsulated the difference between these two clubs and their positions in the table. In the opening three minutes the Irish put together a multi-phase movement which made all of five metres; in the last minute, Ford kicked a long touch-finder and his forwards won a penalty from a rolling maul that Ford was able to kick, recovering a lead which Ojo's try had taken from them.

Ford's three first-half penalties, to two by James O'Connor, were interspersed by Ojo's thrust off the side of a ruck and a delightful line to the corner picked by Kyle Eastmond. Ford hammered over two more penalties early in the second half and though Geraghty responded, Watson's try allowed Bath to stretch away and later David Wilson barreled over.

Chris Hala'ufia was driven over from a ruck but Matt Garvey, another who left the Irish last year, finished off his former colleagues with the game's last move.

London Irish J O'Connor; T Ojo, F Mulchrone, E Sheridan, M Yarde (A Fenby, 74); S Geraghty (I Humphreys, 66), D Allinson (E Hoadley, 76); M Parr (sin bin 13-24; J Yapp, 62), D Paice (J Stevens, 66), J Hagan (L Halavatau, 71), G Skivington (capt), N Rouse (C Hala'ufia, 66), K Low (J Sinclair, 51), B Cowan, O Treviranus (Yapp, 17-24).

Bath N Abendanon (H Agulla, 74); S Rokoduguni, O Devoto (G Henson, 67), K Eastmond, A Watson; G Ford, P Stringer (M Young, 67); P James (N Catt, 66), R Batty (T Dunn, 74), D Wilson (J-P Orlandi, 74), S Hooper (captain; D Day, 67)), D Attwood, M Garvey, F Louw (G Mercer, 53), L Houston (Batty, 77).

Referee G Garner (Warwickshire).

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album