Harlequins 9 Bath 3: Jarvis keeps Quins' heads above water

Borthwick's return becomes the dampest squib for swamped Bath

At the end of this old-fashioned mudfest the crowd reacted as if Harlequins had won the World Cup. The sheer volume and expression of celebration was an extraordinary reaction to a mundane victory by three penalties to one. There again Quins, relegated the season before last, had recorded their sixth win from eight league matches following a wretched start to the season and what was witnessed at the end may have been a sign of sheer relief that it is somebody else's turn to drop below sea level.

Dean Richards, Quins' director of rugby, was so delighted at the club's run of success that he popped open bottles of champagne in the dressing room afterwards and handed them all to the forwards. Player of the match? He said: "They were one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight."

It was Sod's Law, of course, that just before the start the overcast heavens opened and the Stoop became so saturated it could have been used for growing rice. Steve Borthwick, the Bath captain injured since the second week of the season, could have chosen a better time to launch his comeback.

Although they have beaten Quins twice this season in the European Challenge Cup, Bath have become one of the Premiership's most inconsistent sides. Just before the start they reshuffled their backs, a response to the weather, although they could have fielded seven cardboard cut-outs and it would not have made that much difference.

Bath have been regular visitors to A&E and their cause was not helped yesterday by the absence of Danny Grewcock and Lee Mears, who both received one-week bans for the offence of stamping. Richards pointed out beforehand that his club's disciplinary performance had improved to the extent that they were conceding fewer than 10 penalties per game and that, he said, was in stark contrast to Bath.

Richards was making the point for a purpose and as it happened the penalty count against Bath was in the ratio of 2:1. Adrian Jarvis - what a handy replacement he is for Andrew Mehrtens - kicked three penalties to one by Olly Barkley. Barkley sometimes plays stand-off, sometimes centre and yesterday he found himself at full-back in place of Michael Stephenson, who moved to the wing. It was like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

There were no tries as the players struggled to keep their feet, catch the ball and pass and kick it in the right direction. The closest the match came to a touchdown was midway through the first half when Jarvis, cleverly adapting to the conditions, put in a neat grubber kick inside the Bath 22. The match cried out for such wet-weather tactics and this one left Barkley all at sea. He lost possession as he slid and splashed towards the ball, David Strettle hacked on over the line and in the ensuing race between Jordan Turner-Hall, Mike Brown and Stephenson the latter was judged by the referee, Dave Pearson, to be the winner. He might have called for the assistance of a video official but as the match was not being televised that option was not available to him.

Quins had taken the lead in the third minute, when the Bath defence was lured offside and Jarvis kicked a straightforward penalty from about 30 yards. Every and any point on the board would be invaluable as a monsoon-like downpour descended.

There was one genuine threequarter move executed with skill and pace and that was when Jarvis's inside pass was taken by Strettle and the right wing - he scored a hat-trick in the impressive victory over Newcastle on New Year's Day - fed Turner-Hall, who could not elude Bath's last line of defence.

The Quins pack were a tighter, more cohesive unit. They had the upper hand in the line-out and their driving from the back row was exactly what was required under the circumstances. Behind them Jarvis and his scrum-half Danny Care also adapted better to the conditions. In the 33rd minute Care put in a perfectly judged kick to the right-hand corner; Bath's throw at the line-out was crooked and at the ensuing scrum they were penalised for not binding in the marsh. Jarvis landed the goal and at half-time Quins held a 6-0 lead.

It was by no means watertight, especially after Barkley cut the deficit to three points, but on the hour the game was up for Bath when the prop David Barnes was shown a yellow card for bringing down a maul. While the chairman of the Professional Rugby Players' Association was in the sin-bin Jarvis kicked the resultant penalty to re-establish the status quo and that was quite enough, thank you.

Harlequins: M Brown; D Strettle (U Monye, 40), S Abbott, J Turner-Hall, S Keogh; A Jarvis, D Care; A Croall, T Fuga, M Ross, O Kohn, N Spanghero, A Vos, N Easter, P Volley (capt).

Bath: O Barkley; J Maddock, C Walker, E Fuimaono-Sapolu, M Stephenson; S Berne (C Malone, 65), A Williams (N Walshe, 51); D Barnes, P Dixon (R Hawkins, 58), T Sigley, S Borthwick (capt), H Louw (P Short, 49), A Beattie (R Fidler, 71), I Feau'nati, J Scaysbrook (G Delve, 51).

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect