Bath Pull the Plug on Exeter

The University of Bath defeat Exeter in 5 sports out of 6 during last Saturday’s varsity.

athletic athletic union bath Exeter varsity

The University of Bath asserted their dominance over the University of Exeter with five wins in six different sports during last Saturday's varsity.

Hundreds of Exeter sportspeople made the journey up the M5 for the inaugural varsity day.

Events kicked off at 11am at the Bath Sports Park, with netball, rugby league and women's rugby union the first spectacles on show.

Exeter's netball team were the first to suffer at the hands of a strong Bath side, as they were turned over 50-31.

Captain Clare Jones was dour after the defeat, saying: "we started well as a team, and were set for a win, but unfortunately our consistency let us down. We failed to finish goal scoring opportunities and failed to make vital turn overs at their centre passes!

"But, we took a lot from the game, and it was exciting to be part of the first year of varsity."

In stark contrast, on the rugby pitches, Exeter's women's union side were steamrollering over a much weaker Bath, scoring try after try and remaining strong in defence. The final score there was 44-5.

On the next pitch over, it was a much closer affair between the two rugby league sides. Exeter, on the back of a second undefeated season in BUCS Premier South, fancied their chances against a Bath team who had formed just this year.

Despite the scorching heat, it was Exeter who took the lead through Nico Flanagan in the unfamiliar role of hooker due to Josh Jones' sabbatical to Sri Lanka.

However, Bath were quick to respond, taking advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy defending from Exeter to score two tries in quick succession.

The Greens were down but far from out, silencing an already quiet crowd following a breakaway through the middle.

The Exeter forwards kept Bath pinned in their half, allowing Flanagan to leave Matt Laventure with an easy conversion just before half time.

Bath came out swinging for the second half, scoring three tries in fifteen minutes to give them a 24-10 lead, and it was only handling errors in the contact area that prevented a greater margin.

Never ones to roll over, Exeter put Bath to the sword with a Stephen List try following a charge down and another from Flanagan to complete his hat-trick bringing the score line to 24-20 with ten minutes to go.

It looked as though Exeter would avoid an upset after they reclaimed the lead, Bath fumbling the ball over their own line to allow List to score again. The Laventure conversion meant the away side led 26-24 with two minutes to go.

But, it wasn't to be. A simple case of miscounting gave Bath a man over in the last minute; the resulting try giving Bath a 28-26 victory.

It was however, not the bitterest of defeats, thanks to the excellent impression the new side made to the Exeter boys following the game, especially with the invitation out to lunch afterwards.

Exeter's losing streak continued throughout the football as well, with the men's side suffering a 2-1 defeat, and the women also falling afoul of a superior Bath team.

The last hopes of Exeter glory were pinned to the men's rugby union side, who kicked off at the Rec at 5.30.

Early signs indicated that Bath were intimidated, with their fly half missing two relatively easy conversions.

Though it was an even, relatively stale, contest at the ruck, it was the Bath XV who took the lead after some quick hands, and so Exeter were down 5-0 at half-time.

The stand was soaked with drool during as Bath's cheerleaders caused a predominantly male crowd to momentarily forget their initial reason for attending.

Back underway for the second half, Exeter finally offered something vaguely resembling attacking rugby. Though their first venture over the Bath try line was mysteriously disallowed, they were avenged within minutes, as a converted try gave them a 7-5 lead.

Discipline in defence was to be the deciding factor at the end of the day however, and repeated offences in the 5 metre area from Exeter saw Bath awarded with a penalty try, which was duly converted to put the home side 12-7 ahead.

The game ended on a sour note however, with the Exeter fly-half being uniformly booed by the Bath crowd as he missed a penalty, leaving the small Exeter contigent of fans in bewilderment.

All in all though, the real winner this weekend was sport. And Bath. Bath definitely won.