Varndell and Lemi leave Bath looking a right shower
Bath 15 Wasps 17
Monday 14 September 2009
Paul Sackey is due back in training with Wasps this week, finally returning from a broken leg, but the England wing has plenty ground to make up on David Lemi and Tom Varndell.
Bath would certainly testify as much. On Saturday they were left rooted to the bottom of the table when they were supposed to be making a fresh start, burying the memories of the summer's drugs scandal in front of a record crowd at the extended Rec.
Instead, it was two of the game's great finishers who starred. Varndell's two tries were as clinically taken as the double from the opening weekend; Lemi's touchdown verged on the balletic. Even their opponents appreciated it. "In those positions they are lethal," said the Bath prop David Flatman. "You daren't give either a centimetre, never mind an inch."
There were generous comments from Flatman; particularly as the visitors had just been so miserly. An early try by Michael Classens had given the home side the start they craved, but for the rest of the half it was the other scrum-half, Joe Simpson, who wrested the initiative.
Bath did control long patches, especially the last 20 minutes which turned into the last 40 once referee Chris White had added a baffling quota of injury time – this epic finished more than two hours after it began. Fortunately, it was enthralling stuff as Bath battered away at the line and Wasps, inspired by Joe Worsley, held firm. They did give out in the last seconds but made sure Ben Skirving was right in the corner when going over. Ryan Davis' conversion for the tie was always going to be a big ask, although not as sizeable as the questions sure to be posed in training this week.
"We played well for 30 minutes, the first 10 and the last 20," said Bath's angry head coach Steve Meehan.
Bath: Tries Classens, Skirving; Conversion Davis; Penalties Davis. Wasps: Tries Varndell 2, Lemi. Conversion Cipriani.
Bath: J Maddock; M Carraro, T Cheeseman (J Cuthbert, 63), S Hape, M Banahan; R Davis, M Claassens (capt); D Flatman (D Barnes, 68), L Mears (P Dixon, 56), D Bell (A Jarvis, 68), S Hooper, D Grewcock (P Short, 56), A Beattie (J Fa'amatuainu, 56), J Salvi, B Skirving.
Wasps: M Van Gisbergen (Walder, h-t); T Varndell, B Jacobs, S Kefu, D Lemi; D Cipriani, J Simpson; T Payne, R Webber, B Broster (B Baker, 72), G Skivington, R Birkett, J Worsley (J Hart 72), S Betsen (c), D Ward-Smith (C Beech, 60-70; 80).
Referee: C White.
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