Leeds 25 Bath 14: Ross gives Leeds the upper hand in battle for survival

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The Independent Online

Leeds Tykes overcame fellow strugglers Bath to secure a priceless victory in their quest for Guinness Premiership survival yesterday. It was a game Phil Davies' men simply had to win and they delivered with a dogged display in their 100th Premiership match.

Chris Bell's second-minute try helped the Tykes to establish a 16-6 interval lead against a spirited Bath side who reduced their arrears to two points after the break. But Leeds proved too strong and recorded only their third league victory of the season to move within two points of Brian Ashton's men.

Gordon Ross was outstanding throughout, converting Bell's try and edging the Tykes further ahead with a 40-metre penalty.

Leeds continued to enjoy the majority of possession, forcing the visitors to concede another penalty on 29 minutes which Ross again converted. Bath hit back four minutes before the interval when Barkley converted another penalty, only for Ross to kick his third penalty of the half to send Leeds in 16-6 ahead at the break.

Neither side managed to find any rhythm after the break but the Bath No 8 Gareth Delve touched down in the left-hand corner after 53 minutes. Barkley missed the resultant conversion but he kicked another penalty shortly before the hour mark for 16-14.

The pendulum eventually swung back to Leeds after 68 minutes when Ross converted another penalty to give the Tykes some breathing space. He then added a drop goal four minutes later and another penalty in the closing stages to give Leeds victory.

Davies, the Tykes director of rugby, said: "We had talked during the week about what we needed to do if things did get a bit tight or if we did go behind. We executed that on the field... We've got 10 games to go and if we keep playing like that then we'll be picking up points."

Leeds: Tries Bell; Conversion Ross; Penalties Ross 5; Drop goals: Ross. Bath: Tries Delve; Penalties Barkley 3.

Leeds: De Marigny; Snyman, Vickerman, Jones, Bell; Ross, Marshall; Lensing ( Shelley, 52), Rawlinson (Bulloch, 52), Gerber, Hooper (Dunbar, 71) Palmer, Morgan, Parks (Thomas, 71), Crane.

Bath: Perry; Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Bory; Malone, Williams; Stevens, Mears (Dixon, 51), Bell (Flatman, 71), Borthwick, Grewcock, Beattie (Short, 72), Lipman, Delve (Fea'unati, 76).

Referee: S Davey (RFU).

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