Vesty error gives Wasps bonus in relegation battle
Bath 17 London Wasps 12
the recreation ground
Sunday 22 April 2012
The fingernails must be bitten to the quick. The relegation dogfight which has involved Newcastle and Wasps for four months will not be decided until 5 May, when the two clubs meet at Adams Park in the last round of the Aviva Premiership.
Just as Newcastle scrapped to a losing bonus point against Saracens on Friday night, so Wasps clung on yesterday, thanks to the unwitting generosity of Sam Vesty. The replacement Bath fly-half raised his arm in celebration as he headed for a bonus-point try, only to be caught by Tom Varndell and denied the score.
The fact that the video official confirmed a try, then thought again, added to the 78th-minute drama. Bath's coaches will be seething, since a five-point win would have given them a better chance of Heineken Cup qualification. Since their final game is at Leicester, their prospects of catching sixth-placed Sale are slim.
Wasps remain masters of their destiny and may even have Marco Wentzel, their injured captain, for the finale. A win or a draw will preserve their Premiership status and make them far more attractive to a potential buyer.
Newcastle must achieve a bonus-point win, to overcome a four-point deficit. A straightforward win would see bottom place determined on points difference – Newcastle must win by 24 points or more to do that. Had Vesty denied Wasps a point here, Newcastle's task would have been made easier. He will do well to avoid visiting the north-east any time soon.
Young was left bemoaning a third quarter in which Bath scored twice and overturned a 9-0 interval lead established by Nicky Robinson's three penalty goals.
"We talked at half-time about not becoming ragged and loose, because Bath have strike runners who can cause you trouble," Young said. "But they were given the opportunity to play."
Wasps could have been further ahead, if Chris Mayor had given a scoring pass to Christian Wade. Two tries in six minutes then turned the match on its head: Lee Mears covered 25 metres for the first and Stephen Donald went between Robinson and Jonathan Poff for the next.
Bath stemmed the flow of penalties and came to dominate the line-out, though their weakness at the scrum haunted them. The game-breaker came when Wasps were down to 14 men, Dominic Waldouck having been sent to the sin-bin as he attempted to stem a Bath move from their own 22; Olly Barkley hit a post with the penalty but Wasps could not cover an overhead pass by Matt Carraro which gave Nick Abendanon the third try.
All they could muster was Robinson's fourth penalty and the satisfaction of turning over another five-metre scrum. The Bath faithful were moderately happy, since this was a win on his last appearance at the Rec for Duncan Bell the popular prop who led his team out. They may also have seen a glimpse of the future in the shape of Kyle Eastmond, the former St Helens player who made his second appearance as a replacement. Eastmond is reminiscent of Jason Robinson and has, according to Sir Ian McGeechan, Bath's retiring director of rugby, "huge potential."
Bath N Abendanon; M Carraro (K Eastmond, 50-63), M Banahan, O Barkley (Eastmond, 76), T Biggs; S Donald (S Vesty, 64), M Claassens; N Catt (D Flatman, 64), L Mears (P Dixon, 64), D Wilson (D Bell, 64), S Hooper (capt), B Skirving, J Ovens, S Taylor (D Attwood, 64), C Fearns.
London Wasps J Wallace; C Wade, C Mayor, D Waldouck,T Varndell; N Robinson, C Davies (N Berry, 67); T Payne (Z Taulafo, 67), T Lindsay, B Broster, J Launchbury, R Birkett (capt; R Filipo, 70), S Jones, B Vunipola, J Poff (T du Plessis, 55).
Referee D Pearson (Northumberland)
Tries: Mears, Donald, Abendanon
Pens: Robinson 4
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
Cristiano Ronaldo applauded by Liverpool fans after master-class for Real Madrid, despite Manchester United ties
Gus Poyet: In other places I would have been sacked straight after 8-0 Southampton defeat, says Sunderland manager
Angel Di Maria injury latest: Argentina international set to play in Manchester United vs Chelsea match
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are