FAN'S VIEW: Bath's last stand was more successful than Custer's
Glyn Edwards gives his take on events at Bath Rugby...
George Armstrong Custer’s famous ‘last stand’ is noted in the history of the American West as a somewhat glorious failure but Bath’s last stand at Sandy Park on Saturday was anything but as they salvaged a very honourable draw.
I must admit I had travelled down to south Devon with rather more hope and much less expectation than is usual on the way to an away match.
After all, Exeter are the self-styled “West Country’s Premier Rugby Club” and have an impressive home record this season, with only Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup having come away with a victory.
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I’m never sure what the precise definitions of West Country and South West are generally accepted to be but, despite the rather boastful website tag-line, no-one should dispute that the Chiefs have done admirably well to establish themselves so securely in the Premiership since their promotion to the top flight in 2010.
They began the last match of 2012 as the division’s top try-scorers, having conceded only two losing bonus points whilst winning all five home league games so far.
So Bath’s last-gasp draw and reward of two match points looks very creditable in that context, particularly after the flat performance and very poor result against Sarries in the previous weekend’s ‘no-contest’ at The Rec.
The drive home was therefore a considerably more cheerful affair and, while the pre-season promise of a “New Beginning” still remains as unfulfilled as our mid-table position dictates, I feel much more positive than was the case in New Year 2012.
Away to Wasps at High Wycombe on Sunday will prove to be another stern test as Dai Young’s side has turned around last season’s miserable form, which should by rights have seem them relegated – and Bath played a key role in their survival.
The four points Wasps were undeservedly gifted by referee Andrew Small’s incorrect decisions to disallow two Bath tries at Adams Park, coupled with the fortunate losing bonus point picked up at The Rec, saw them stay up at the expense of Newcastle.
So far they are unbeaten in Wycombe this term, with Leicester amongst their victims, so Bath will need to back-up their resolute display at Sandy Park if they are to successfully challenge Wasps’ home supremacy.
With the January contract window now open, the early weeks of 2013 will doubtless bring news of more re-signings to add to the six players confirmed to date, and also confirmation that some of the present squad will not be staying on at The Rec.
But this year – at long last – Bath’s future at the much-loved old ground should also be determined. For most supporters, a positive announcement in 2013 about our home will be even more eagerly anticipated than the arrival of additional players at Farleigh.