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).

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