Jan 04, 2016
Storm too strong for Bath United
Saracens Storm extended their perfect start to the season with their fourth win in as many game after beating Bath United 30-15 at Allianz Park.
The reigning Aviva Premiership A League champions ran in three tries, with No8 Samu Vunisa, wing Matt Gallagher and centre Nick Tompkins all crossing the whitewash. Ben Spencer kicked 15-points in a typically accurate evening with the boot.
Bath United edged in front early on when Storm were penalised for holding on in their own 22, with Bath outside half Adam Hastings sending over a ninth minute penalty.
The Storm would hit-back almost immediately, when Italian loose forward Samu Vunisa continuing his fine try scoring form with a first half try on the back of a strong Sarries driving maul. Ben Spencer stepped up and slotted the conversion with ease to give his side a 7-3 lead.
In what would be a tit-for-tat first half, Bath United would only have to wait a matter of minutes to register their first try of the game, when outside centre Max Clark powered over to score after patient build up play from the visitors. Hastings failed to convert as United led the Storm 8-7 after twenty minutes of play.
After full-back Ben Ransom showed glimpses of exciting running game with a superb counter attacking break, Storm were able to edge themselves in front once again when Ben Spencer sent over a 25th minute penalty after United were adjudged to have been offside at the breakdown.
Yet, indicative of the topsy-turvy nature of the contest, it was Bath United who would score next after scrumhalf Will Homer scooted in from close range to score his side’s second try of the evening. Hastings converted.
The unpredictability of this game served up some impressive attacking play, with young fly-half Max Malins showed some promising touches for the home side, and young scrum half Will Homer looked dangerous for the visitors. The Storm went close to their second try of the evening when a wonderful looping Malins pass found the electric Nathan Earle in space. The United defence scrambled well to stop the former England u20s star.
Next it was Bath’s turn, and it was Homer again when the promising half-back dummied from the base of a Bath scrum deep in his own half to nearly run the length of the pitch to score, only for wing Matt Gallagher to show superb pace and determination to haul him down just short of the try-line.
It would be Sarries who would have the final say in the half. New loan signing Kieran Low can take a lot of credit for his role in the score, as it was the on-loan Glasgow Warrior who nipped into to steal a United lineout much to the annoyance of Bath United skipper and hooker, Tom Dunn. On the back of Low’s play, the ball was worked out wide to Matt Gallagher to score in the corner after a superb piece of skill by centre Nick Tompkins. Spencer converted expertly from the touchline as the Storm went into the break 17-15 after a breathless half of A League rugby.
After the break Ben Spencer established some breathing space with two quick fire penalties to give Storm an eight point lead.
Kevin Sorrell’s side were much improved without the ball in the second half, pressuring their United counterparts at every opportunity. The Storm were on the hunt for errors, and they duly got one when Bath full-back Darren Atkins dropped a deep kick from Max Malins and much to the young full-backs horror Nick Tompkins scooped the ball up and dived over to score. Spencer, who was in imperious form with the boot all night, added the extras to make the scores 30-15.
Saracens rotated their bench, with Australian prop forward Kieran Longbottom having completed another hour of rugby on his long awaited return from injury, with young props Biyi Alo and Hayden Thompson-Stringer (converted from back-row forward this season) both adding some enthusiasm and grunt from the bench.
United rallied in the closing quarter, testing the Storm’s defensive resolve. Yet, Sorrell’s young side stood up to the task, with Alo in particular impressing with some fine maul defence and even a rampaging kick chase in the closing stages.
Under the pressure of the Bath attack, Sarries did lose replacement Max Wilkins to the sin-bin but they kept the visitors scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Saracens Storm: 15 Ben Ransom; 14 Matt Gallagher, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Nils Mordt ©, 11 Nathan Earle; 10 Max Malins, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Dave Porecki, 3 Kieran Longbottom; 4 Kieran Low, 5 Kennett O’Neil, 6 Jack Nay, 7 Kelly Brown, 8 Samu Vunisa.
Replacements: 16 Josh Taylor, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Jack Tredrea, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Dom Morris, 23 Max Wilkins.
Tries: Vunisa, Gallagher, Tompkins
Conversions: Spencer x3
Penalties: Spencer x3
Yellow Card: Wilkins