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).

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn