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The hosts scored three tries, including an outstanding counter attacking score from man of the match Michael Classens to win 30 points to 3.
Tom Homer scored London Irish’s only points with a penalty goal nine minutes before half time but was deprived of any further opportunities thanks to the disciplined defence on show by the hosts.
It was a damp and dreary start to 2012 at the Recreation Ground in conditions that turned out to suit Bath much better. Their back row was outstanding and gave fly half Steven Donald the perfect platform to play off.
Anthony Perenise scored the first try of the game after 15 minutes. Donald put a high kick into the Exiles 22 that was fumbled allowing Bath a great attacking position 10 metres from the Irish line. After relentless pressure on the London Irish line the big Samoan prop forward forced his way over to score the game’s first points. Referee, Martin Fox, consulted the TMO who awarded the try. Donald kicked the conversion to give his side a 7-0 lead.
Perenise could have had a second try five minutes later but was this time denied by the TMO.
The first half saw a lot a tactical kicking and it was Bath that also edged this contest. Stephen Donald and Nick Abendanon were both sending huge kicks into the Irish half putting the likes of Armitage, Homer and Ojo under immense pressure.
Donald and Homer traded penalty goals before half time as Bath went into the shed 10-3 ahead.
Stephen Donald kicked his second penalty of the match four minutes into the second half to make it a 10 point ball game and leave Irish a lot of work to do in challenging conditions.
With just over 20 minutes left Michael Classens scored the match winning score to put the game beyond Irish. Adrian Jarvis put a neat chip kick into the Bath 22 that was claimed beautifully by Nick Abendanon who galloped clear. The full back passed inside to Tom Biggs who drew the last Irish defender and set Michael Classens clear to score a try in the corner. Donald converted to put his side 20-3 in front
Bath dominated territory and possession for the last quarter and came close to scoring another break away try only to be denied by great cover defence from Delon Armitage. The third try came four minutes from time and was given as a penalty try by referee Fox. Donald converted from underneath the posts to give his side a 30 points to 3 victory.
London Irish appreciates all the support that travelled to Bath and is sorry the result didn’t go our way. Good teams bounce back and that is what London Irish will be doing when Sale visit the Madejski on Sunday.
Score sequence: (Bath first) 7-0, 10-0, 10-3, 13-3, 20-3, 23-3, 30-3
Scorers: Bath: Tries: Perenise (15), Classens (58), Penalty try (76); Conversions: Donald 3; Penalties: Donald (26, 44, 64); London Irish: Penalties: Homer (31)
Bath Rugby team
15. Nick Abendanon; 14. Olly Woodburn (rep: Kyle Eastmond, 67); 13. Matt Carraro; 12. Matt Banahan; 11. Tom Biggs; 10. Stephen Donald; 9. Michael Claassens; 1. Nathan Catt; 2. Ross Batty; 3. Anthony Perenise (rep: David Wilson, 59); 4. Dave Attwood; 5. Ryan Caldwell; 6. Andy Beattie; 7. Francois Louw (Captain); 8. Simon Taylor (rep: Ben Skirving, 61)
Replacements: 16. Will Tanner; 17. Charlie Beech; 18. David Wilson; 19. Ben Skirving; 20. Guy Mercer; 21. Chris Cook; 22. Tom Heathcote; 23. Kyle Eastmond
London Irish team
15. Delon Armitage; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13. Joe Ansbro (rep: Adrian Jarvis, 56); 12. Shontayne Hape; 11. Tom Homer (rep: Adam Thompstone, 78); 10. Steven Shingler; 9. Darren Allinson (rep: Paul Hodgson, 66); 1. Alex Corbisiero (rep: Clarke Dermody, 55); 2. James Buckland (rep: David Paice, 55); 3. Paulica Ion (rep: Max Lahiff, 66); 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bryn Evans; 6. Declan Danaher (Captain); 7. Jamie Gibson (rep: Alex Gray, 67); 8. Richard Thorpe (rep Matt Garvey, 36)
Replacements: 16. David Paice; 17. Clarke Dermody; 18. Max Lahiff; 19. Matt Garvey; 20. Alex Gray; 21. Adam Thompstone; 22. Adrian Jarvis; 23. Paul Hodgson
Referee: Martin Fox