Varndell's energy takes Tigers top

Leicester 40 Bath 26

No such luck. In the 88th minute, Shane Jennings, Leicester's signing from Ireland, exploited chaos inside the Bath 22 to claim his side's fourth try. The result, of course, was a bonus point for the Tigers who moved to the creamy head of the Guinness Premiership while Bath are down among the dregs.

The abiding fashion of this entertaining if disjointed and at times laughable contest was the interception try. What do these people do on the training field all week? Learning how and when to pass would be a good start. The standard here had to be seen to be believed.

Bath, who drew both Premiership matches with Leicester last season, got off to a shocking start. From the kick-off Andy Goode sliced his attempted clearance to touch and the ball bounced in midfield, where Andy Beattie had all the time in the world to set up an attack. Matt Perry came steaming up from full-back only to receive an awful pass from Beattie. Perhaps it threw him because Perry then delivered a long, high pass which was meant for David Bory. It never reached the Frenchman and instead turned out to be a perfect pass for Tom Varndell, the Leicester left wing who had come into midfield. He strolled to the posts from about halfway and the Tigers were 7-0 ahead with 28 seconds gone.

Bath responded through the boot of Olly Barkley. A stupid shove by Harry Ellis conceded a penalty in the second minute and nine minutes later Ben Kay, otherwise anonymous, tackled Martyn Wood when the scrum-half was waiting for the ball. Barkley kicked both. There was more than the usual interest in Barkley's marksmanship. After a dismal start to the season Barkley dispensed with the services of the England kicking coach Dave Alred, Jonny Wilkinson's mentor. Having kicked Alred into touch, Barkley went back to his old routine and contributed 13 points with five kicks out of six.

Not bad but the bottom line is that Bath had nobody, bar the debutant Bory, to rival the pace, guile and aggression of Daryl Gibson and Varndell. The young wing went on to create another try and score a second, although Leicester did their damndest to repay Perry's hospitality.

After Barkley had made it 7-6, Goode landed the first of four penalties following a punch-up in which Steve Borthwick and Beattie became involved and in the 24th minute Leicester appeared to be cruising. Geordan Murphy's little chip down the left flank appeared to be well covered by Perry, Andy Higgins and Frikkie Welsh, but Varndell surprised them all by claiming possession and his inside pass put Murphy in the clear.

Trailing 17-6, Bath were in big trouble but they reckoned without this habit of players passing to the opposition. Five minutes before the break Gibson, who otherwise was outstanding, had his pass intercepted by Bory, who cleverly transferred to the unmarked Higgins and the centre was away. At times Leicester tried to be too clever by half and when they lost a line-out on their own throw Andy Dunne dropped a goal, reducing Bath's deficit at half time to a point.

Borthwick, the Bath captain, kept popping on and off to stem a river of blood that was flowing from the bridge of his nose and his great rival Kay was replaced as the Tigers upped the intensity. They had created a promising looking attack when, lo and behold, Goode's floated pass to the right wing was intercepted by Bory, who ran about 70 yards for the try.

Somehow Bath found themselves 23-17 in front and they braced themselves for the onslaught. It duly arrived. First, Alesana Tuilagi was taken out off the ball; Goode kicking the simple penalty. Then Bath were pulled left and right, culminating in Goode's long pass finding, miracle of miracles, Varndell, and he dived over for try number three. With Goode banging over everything, Leicester swept ahead again with 13 points in half-a-dozen minutes. By the end Bory wasn't sure what day it was, particularly after had unnecessarily been bundled into the advertising hoardings. In injury time Barkley landed a penalty which made it 33-26 and a bonus point was in the bag for Bath until Jennings' late, late contribution.

Leicester: G Murphy; T Varndell, L Lloyd (O Smith, 56), D Gibson, A Healey (A Tuilagi, 56); A Goode, H Ellis; A Moreno (M Holford, 69), G Chuter (E Taukafa, 70), J White, L Deacon, B Kay (J Hamilton, 52), W Johnson, M Corry (capt), S Jennings.

Bath: M Perry; D Bory, A Higgins, O Barkley, F Welsh (S Finau, 25); A Dunne, M Wood (N Walshe, 58); D Barnes, L Mears, M Stevens (D Bell, 52), S Borthwick (capt), D Grewcock, A Beattie, I Feaunati, G Delve (J Scaysbrook, 52).

Referee: C White (Gloucestershire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor