Saturday, 18th February 2017 @ 17:30
Harlequins outscored Bath two tries to one, but five penalties to Rhys Priestland helped the home side to a 22-12 win at the Rec.
Priestland gave his side a 6-0 lead early before Tim Visser was on hand to score in the corner and give Quins a brief lead before heading into the break trailing 9-7.
The visitors dominated the early exchanges of the second spell and were rewarded with a try to Marland Yarde and a 9-12 lead. However a spirited fight back from the West Countrymen was too good for Quins as they failed to even register a losing bonus point as Bath turned the encounter around to win 22-12.
The Londoners arrived in Bath after picking up their first Aviva Premiership away win of the season last week in Bristol. In a tightly contested table another victory on the road would have seen them not only pusing for a European Champions Cup spot, but back in the playoff picture.
It was the home side that got off to the faster start though as Priestland kicked a pair of penalties in the opening 15 minutes as Quins failed to capitalise on their forays into opposition territory.
Throughout the match both teams were guilty of poor handling but it would cost Bath on half hour mark as Dave Ward pounced on a loose ball and quick hands from Mat Luamanu and James Chisholm set up Tim Visser who finished smartly in the corner. Ruaridh Jackson adding the extras from the sideline to give Quins a 6-7 lead.
While Bath would go into the break on top thanks to a third Priestland penalty Harlequins had begun to find some momentum.
In the second spell the visitors started off well, lifting the tempo and playing in the right areas of the pitch. With seven minutes gone, hooker Rob Buchanan found himself in space on the wing and after bumping off his defender he slipped an inside ball to Marland Yarde who dived over for the try. While Jackson’s kick was unsuccessful Quins led 9-12 and it only spurred them on.
A great defensive effort kept them playing in the Bath half, however they failed to convert that territory into points. The longer Quins failed to score the more hope was given to the home side and just after the hour mark they were rewarded.
Preistland broke through the defence with a scintillating dummy and his side piled on the pressure and the phases. Eventually the Harlequins defence succumbed and centre Max Clarke dived over from close range for a converted try.
Nick Evans returned from injury for the visitors but he couldn’t help his side back into the lead as Bath mounted a series of attacks and came away with points seemingly on every trip down field.
They pushed the lead out to seven points with a penalty on the 75th and it went from bad to worse minutes later as Priestland soon kicked his fifth penalty, denying Quins a losing bonus point in the process.
22-12 the final score and a bitterly disappointing loss for a Quins side that fought well for much of the match.
They now have six days to prepare for a hugely important clash at The Stoop as they take on Leicester Tigers who sit just above them in the Premiership table. A match that may go a long way to deciding who plays in the Champions Cup next season.
Tickets for Friday night’s match are available now and can be purchased by clicking here.