Chiefs take first blood as they win at the Rec and look to emulate more cup glory
Due to the postponement of the Anglo-Welsh cup final cancelled, Bath and Exeter Chiefs had to wait another week until locking horns this time at the Rec.
Defending champions Chiefs immediately got in their stride and picked up their first points of the evening within the first quarter as they scored a penalty and after good work from the forwards who continued to keep the ball alive phase after phase were rewarded when Jonny Hill scored the first try of the evening and Bath staring at a 0-10 deficit!
As the first half entered it’s finale Bath got on the scoreboard with a couple of penalties courtesy of the right boot of Freddie Burns as Bath went in 6-10 down at half time but were within one score of the champions. Bath have been either brilliant or lethargic when coming out at the start of the second half and unfortunately it was the latter again, as Exeter piled on the pressure and were rewarded for their persistence as England international Sam Simmonds found a hole in the blue, black and white defence to give Exeter a bit of daylight at 6-17.
Not getting down hearted, Bath stormed back and responded magnificently with an alert Freddie Burns kicking crossfield to try scoring machine Matt Banahan who gathered the kick and finished off the move. With the crowd finding their voice, Bath had their sails up and breezed into Exeter’s 22 and a wonderfully timed run from Toby Faletau who offloaded to Paul Grant for an easy finish and Priestland kicked Bath into the lead for the first time in the match.
Showing their class Exeter didn’t panic and continued to build pressure on Bath and were rewarded when they received a penalty within kicking distance, flyhalf Joe Simmonds didn’t disappoint as he struck it through the upright as Exeter regained the lead and held on for the final minutes to take another hard fought win.
Exeter Chiefs are next up for Bath as the re-arranged cup final is taking place on Good Friday in what should be another highly anticipated clash between the Westcountry rivals.