Sep 29, 2014
Cracker-Jack wins it for the Storm
A last-gasp Jack Wilson try snatched Saracens Storm a superb 22-27 win away to Bath United in tonight's Premiership A League fixture at The Rec.
Tries from Ben Spencer, Matt Hankin plus a brace from Wilson keep Saracens Storm at the top of the A League table as they come away from the West Country with five points in the bag.
The match began at frantic pace, with hosts Bath United taking an early lead.
After Storm No8 Nick De Jäger was penalised for not rolling away, Bath outside half Ollie Devoto kicked for touch. From the resulting lineout openside wing-forward Max Northcote-Green went over for the games first try from the back of a dominant rolling maul. Devoto converted to give United a 7-0 lead.
To their credit, The Storm responded to their earlier setback with skipper Itoje, No.8 De Jäger and open side Matt Hankin leading the charge against a Bath pack with experienced front rowers Nathan Catt and Ross Batty starting the game.
In what was their first foray into United territory, Storm scrum-half Ben Spencer slotted over a penalty to reduce the home sides lead to four points. Then the Storm struck, and unsurprisingly it was lock-forward Itoje with the telling break in the build-up.
Collecting Ben Spencer's pass Itoje showed clever footwork and acceleration to burst through the United midfield. Itoje then had the presence of mind to slow his run down to feed winger Jack Wilson who with quick mind and slight of hand immediately offloaded to Ben Spencer who finished off the move under the posts. Spencer converted.
United were shell shocked, and the Storm sensed they had their hosts on the back-peddle. Then loose-forward De Jäger broke through the United defence. From the resulting breakdown Nils Mordt expertly hoisted a towering 'Garry Owen' for United full-back Rich Lane. Lane spilt the ball only to find the Duracell-esq Matt Hankin in attendance, who scooped the ball up and raced 30 metres to score. Spencer once again converted.
Before half-time Devoto slotted over a penalty as the Storm went into the cramped Rec changing rooms 10-22 to the good.
After the break, Bath burst out of the blocks, with tighthead Kane Palma-Newport crossing for the hosts six minutes into the second-half.
The home side were in in the ascendancy, as the Storm found it difficult to get exit their half. Experienced Bath duo Mickey Young and Matt Banahan then combined to break through some stubborn Storm defence. As the visitors scrambled they were penalised for offside - Devoto kicked for touch as United sniffed blood. From the lineout they crossed for their second try of the game as Tom Dunn burrowed over to score. Replacement Will Homer showed great composure to slot over the conversion and level up the game to make it 22-22.
Then as the game looked to wind down to respectable draw, the Storm mustered one last effort. Most era Nick de Jager, a thorn in the United side throughout, pounced on a ball that squeezed out a Bath ruck. Saracens recycled and with a penalty advantage for a Bath defender not using the arms in the tackle, Nils Mordt spotted Jack Wilson in acres of space with a crossfield kick. The Kiwi winger collected the pinpoint punt and shrugged off the attention of United's Marcus Beer and to seal a brilliant A League win in the most dramatic fashion.