Drahm sizes up last-day drama

Bath 30 Northampton 12
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The Independent Online

There is a dramatic prospect looming in the final round of Premiership matches, when Northampton travel to Worcester, who are floundering up the same creek.

There is a dramatic prospect looming in the final round of Premiership matches, when Northampton travel to Worcester, who are floundering up the same creek.

If, in that match, Northampton are awarded a penalty in the dying seconds, and if the fate of the two clubs depends on that final kick, the chances are that Shane Drahm will take it.

It would be bad enough for any kicker - his team-mates' careers would be on the line, the very future of his club could rest on his shoulders. But for Drahm it would be even worse, because whatever the outcome it would be hislast kick for Northampton before he moves to his new club. Worcester.

Drahm is stoical about the situation. "The announcement of my move to Worcester has made things a bit awkward, but it's a professional sport, and I made a decision to sign with Worcester, even though I knew there was a possibility that something like that could happen and that I could find myself in that position." He shrugs. "If I have a last-minute kick for the three points that would keep Northampton up and send Worcester down, I would have no qualms about taking it.

"If I did have the chance to get the goal that would condemn Worcester to relegation, and if I purposely missed that kick, it would be like throwing the game."

The situation is unlikely to arise, however, if Northampton are as ineffectual as they were on Saturday. Drahm had a flawless record, three out of three and a drop goal, but so did his fellow Australian Chris Malone for Bath, with five out of five and a drop goal as well.

With the exception of Bruce Reihana and his lone counter-attacks, and Drahm's dozen points, Saints never threatened and were on the back foot for the bulk of a one-sided match.

Not that Bath were anything special themselves. They may have elbowed their way into the top three and towards automatic entry into the Heineken Cup, but their minds were clearly on Twickenham and the Powergen Cup final against Leeds next weekend.

For every try they scored, they could and should have had two more. They could well live to regret not scoring a fourth, because that missed bonus point might yet make all the difference to the end of this season and the prospects for next.

Too often final passes were not delivered or, worse, the recipient would step inside and into trouble, or lose his footing momentarily. Bath had better watch their step in their final two matches, against London Irish and Leeds.

Bath: Tries Maddock, Higgins, Bell; Conversions Malone 3; Penalties Malone 2; Drop goal Malone. Northampton: Penalties Drahm 3; Drop goal Drahm.

Bath: J Maddock (R Davis, 80); A Williams, A Higgins (F Welsh, 61), O Barkley, B Daniel; C Malone, N Walshe (M Wood, 61); M Stevens, L Mears, D Bell (D Barnes, 69-76), S Borthwick (capt; R Fidler, 76), D Grewcock, G Lewis (G Delve, 72), J Scaysbrook, I Feaunati.

Northampton: B Reihana; J Rudd, A Vilk (M Tucker, 78), M Stcherbina (L Myring, 80), B Cohen; S Drahm (Myring, 48-59), J Howard (B Jones, 50); S Emms, S Thompson (D Richmond, 16-26), B Sturgess, S Boome, M Lord, R Beattie (M Soden, 16-20; 61), D Fox (R Morris, 80), G Seely (D Browne, 75).

Referee: C White (Gloucestershire).