Malone rides luck as Bath make best of a messy feast

Bath 33 - Harlequins 7

With those in and out of the know wondering how to ease the number of fixtures and help players' bodies recover, the Powergen Cup can be seen as unnecessary. The Bath public certainly thought so, with great banks of seats stubbornly empty and after a derisory match it was clear that festive shopping probably had been the right choice.

But this tournament is not without merit, the most important being that the winner qualifies for the Heineken Cup. Some prize and one worth competing for over the four fixtures. Certainly it provides an easier route than the long, hard slog of the Zurich Premiership.

However, these two sides are already struggling in this year's Heineken and although Bath have an injury list to scare the most hard-working sawbones - Martyn Wood the latest casualty when he failed a late fitness test - and Quins have problems in the league, they provided a pantomime of a match.

Dropped passes, knock-ons, enough fumbles to keep a drunken lecher happy and two tries gifted in true seasonal spirit - and that was just the first half. Quins gratefully received the first in the 17th minute, Jeremy Staunton neatly intercepting Chris Malone's pass. Bath use the move frequently and the pace with which Staunton hit the line suggested he knew it was coming.

Tom Williams reciprocated in the 35th minute with a bout of dithering that allowed Andy Higgins to chase a long, hopeful Olly Barkley kick to the corner. Such was the paucity of quality rugby that it was Bath's third attack, the previous one bringing a kicked penalty in the 33rd minute and the first a missed drop goal in the 29th.

Quins were little better. Andre Vos was his usual niggardly self, stealing and slowing Bath ball and receiving some fancy footwork for it, and former All Black Simon Maling pilfered plenty from the line-out, but there was precious little thrust or invention.

They never looked like scoring again and their best chances came from Malone passes that were nearly picked off. When Steve So'oialo was sent to the sin-bin in the 63rd minute it was the end. Barkley added a third penalty and Lee Mears and Tom Cheeseman ended matters with two tries.

John Connolly, Bath's director of rugby, though highlighted the problem facing the competition afterwards.

"We approach the season in blocks," he said, "Heineken Cup and Zurich Premiership. But this game didn't seem to fit into either of those blocks. It was the kind of match where you want to get in, play the game and get out." Without further injury he could have added, but Lee Best has tweaked his groin again and Higgins has a sore knee. Bath are fast struggling to field a side, something that will cost them during the next six matches,which could define their season in both the League and Heineken Cup.

If they struggle they might want the Powergen trophy and its passport.

Bath: R Davis (L Best, 72); A Higgins (T Cheeseman, 72 ), F Welsh, O Barkley, B Daniel; C Malone, M Baxter (S Alford, 79); M Stevens (D Barnes, 69), J Humphreys (capt) (L Mears, 34), D Bell, S Borthwick, R Fidler (D Grewcock, 54), J Scaysbrook, I Feaunati, M Lipman (G Lewis, 79).

Harlequins: T Wlliams; D James, W Greenwood (G Duffy, 63), M Deane, S Keogh; J Staunton (A Jarvis, 57), S So'oialo; M Worsley (J Dawson, 69), T Fuga (A Tiatia, 49), C Jones, R Winters (S Miall, 79), S Maling, N Easter, T Diprose, A Vos (capt).

Referee: N Owen (WRFU).

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
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

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal