USW claim victory over Bath in BUCS thriller
University of South Wales continued their fine BUCS South A League form with a battling victory over Bath University 2nds at Sardis Road on Wednesday evening 7th February.
Fly-half Foard Cooksley got proceedings under way and after only four minutes gave the home side the perfect start. After eight phases the ball was launched out wide to Cooksley who sliced through the Bath defence and in at the corner. Centre Corey Shepphard added the extras.
In a scintillating start to the game, Bath responded within minutes of the restart with great interplay along the backline allowing their scrum half to score under the posts with the try converted. The away side weren’t done as their forwards showed their muscle by driving a 20-yard maul over the line a quarter of an hour into the game. With the conversion missed, the home team needed to respond quickly, and they did. A short kick off from Cooksley was gathered by mobile prop Tom Mably who stretched his legs to score a try from 40-metres out. Sheppherd reclaimed the lead for the home side with his conversion.
That lead was however short lived and Bath were back in front within two minutes as their inside centre crashed over under the posts for another converted try.
The home side looked to be crumbling with kicks going out on the full, penalties given away and with Bath’s bonus point on the way as a driving maul powered over for another try. USW in response got their third try straight from the kick off through captain Gareth Jones following several phases, with a superb pick up and score to register an interval score-line of 19pts to 24.
With the batteries recharged, USW made a storming start to the second half with a driving maul leading to centre Corey Sheppherd bursting through under the posts for the crucial bonus point try which he also converted. Justin Burnell’s half time team talk looked to have revitalised the Welsh side, extending their lead through a Sheppherd penalty from in front of the posts. The home side were much improved in defence and turned over ball at will, which was rewarded as flanker Sion Edwards and Tom Mably combined to give the prop his second try of the match which. Sheppherd converted.
With USW in cruise control after scoring 22 points without reply, Bath needed a swift response and that’s what they delivered. Into the final quarter, the visitors’ left winger out-stripped the USW defence to bring his side back into contention, their deficit cut further as they claimed another three points from a penalty.
With an enthralling battle nearing its end, the pressure was on the home side to put the game to bed. Outstanding flanker Sion Edwards hammered the final nail in the English side’s coffin, scrambling the ball over the line after many phases with Sheppherd’s conversion to follow. It was USW who prevailed to claim a crucial victory by 43-34 with captain Gareth Jones nominated as City West man of the match (pictured above).