Grewcock inspires Bath's 14 to release the heroes inside

Bath 18 Gloucester 16

Already disrupted by the loss through injury of his full-back Matt Perry, John Connolly, the Bath coach, was forced into a major reorganisation at half-time. He sent on the young centre Tom Cheeseman for James Scaysbrook and asked his captain Steve Borthwick to lead a seven-man pack. The forwards responded quite magnificently, none more so than Danny Grewcock, Lee Mears and Andy Beattie. Andy Robinson, the England coach, was at his old club and would have been impressed.

The Australian Connolly returns home next month - Nigel Melville, the former Gloucester coach, is the favourite to replace him - and he will remember this for a long time. At the end of the epic, which Bath won by five penalties and a drop goal to a goal and three penalties, Connolly shook the hand of every member of his side.

This unlikely victory maintained Bath's extraordinary record here against the neighbours they love to hate. Gloucester, who arrived at the Rec unbeaten, had not recorded a single Premiership win here in 14 attempts. Make that 15. The question is, will they ever get a better chance?

Whereas Bath raised their game, Gloucester's much vaunted pack did not respond to the fire and fury unleashed by the magnificent seven. Borthwick and his men camouflaged the fact that they were playing one short in the back row and by sheer guts and willpower provided the platform for Olly Barkley to land the winning kick four minutes from the end of normal time.

Gloucester were bombarded at the beginning of the second half. First Chris Malone dropped a goal that is worthy of inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records. It was a tremendous strike from inside his own half. When a scrum collapsed a few minutes later, Gloucester conceded the penalty and Barkley kicked it. Then the centre, who had switched to full-back, landed a whopper from the halfway line and Bath were 15-6 to the good.

When David Bory received a yellow card in the process of stifling a James Simpson-Daniel run that should have led to a try, Mercier kicked the penalty and in the 70th minute Gloucester finally managed a coherent attack. The result was a lovely try by Rob Thirlby and Mercier's touchline conversion made it 16-15. Surely Gloucester would now break the jinx. No chance. Barkley, limping from a leg injury, banged over another 55-yarder and the Georgian city was rocking.

Things had been simmering nicely in the first half when the nature of the game changed dramatically. Mercier, who is more comfortable kicking the ball from here to Boulogne than passing it, came within a fingertip of having a pass intercepted by his fellow Frenchman Bory.

In the event Jon Goodridge had a free run down the right wing until he found his path blocked by Perry. The full-back took a knee to the head and went down as if poleaxed. If there was a Premiership award for the unluckiest player, Perry would win it. There again, he'd probably trip on the rostrum. The consolation is that yesterday's setback wasn't as bad as it looked.

While poor Perry was lying face down on the Rec, Gloucester had moved the ball to the left where Higgins homed in on Simpson-Daniel with the intent of a missile. He hit the England wing with everything he had, including a raised arm, and earned himself a yellow card.

Mercier kicked the resultant penalty to level the score at 3-3. Mercier soon added another penalty to push Gloucester ahead and within seconds was knocked over by a late shoulder charge from Mears. The Frenchman failed with the penalty attempt and then hit an upright with a far easier shot.

When Peter Buxton was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, Barkley kicked the penalty to level at 6-6. His hit and miss regime began in the second minute with a longish penalty. He missed again before finding the target in the 17th minute when Phil Vickery killed the ball. Barkley could not have suspected that his fallible boot would ultimately kick Bath to one of their more famous victories.

The first half was deep into injury time when Higgins, wrong footed by Mike Tindall, making his first appearance at the Rec since joining Gloucester, tripped the England centre with his right leg. Exit stage left for the Bath man. Seldom has an early bath produced such a watermark.

Bath: M Perry (R Davis, 24); D Bory, A Higgins,O Barkley, F Welsh; C Malone, M Wood; D Barnes, L Mears, D Bell (M Stevens, 53), S Borthwick(capt), D Grewcock, A Beattie, I Feaunati, J Scaysbrook (T Cheeseman, 40).

Gloucester: J Goodridge (R Thirlby, 39); M Foster, M Tindall, H Paul, J Simpson-Daniel; L Mercier, H Thomas (P Richards, 55); P Collazo (T Sigley, 55), M Davies, P Vickery(capt), A Eustace, A Brown, P Buxton (L Narraway, 69), J Forrester, A Hazell.

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas