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).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones