With the indifferent season at the Rec drawing to a close and the fans focusing on hope and expectations for next season, there was one last outing left for the boys to undertake......bring on the Wasps.
The day would see the Captain Stuart Hooper collecting his centenary of appearances although this would not be the day for him to charge out onto the pitch leading his troop ready to to battle, no this accolade was presented to another man!
With the announcement of a huge servant of the club and a man considered as a Bath legend Mr Duncan Bell wcould to be retiring at the end of the season the final home game became a much bigger occasion. For Bath itself some form of respectability salvation of the season and to give the big man the send off he deserves. Also 2 other players who are drawing an end to their days in Blue,Black and white are Matt Carrero and Pieter Dixon so the hope of a monumental fixture was in the expectations of pumped up crowd, ready to exercise some fine voices with calls of ALLEZ BATH!!
A free family day to be be followed by Bath taking part in some pest control against Wasps geared up a lively festival atmosphere (although having Peppa pig and a Hog roast in the same place left some awkward questions for parents). With the relentlessly excitable sell out crowd taking their places baying for that long awaited win in what they refer to as their Mecca, the time arrived for the team to be led onto the park by the man himself met by an erupterous applause........Belly!!
To start Bath showed their intent in the game by taking it to Wasps. When a penalty was won instead of taking the three points from the boot of Olly they opted to kick for touch, unfortunately not leading to points but showing where their game plan was at. The pressure insued for a good 10-15 minutes but slowly the possession swayed into the opponents hands. With the general concesious starting to feel are they going to rue the normal all possession and no points again? And then it seemed the norm was going to become a reality. Infringements creeping in and the points being taken by Nicky Robinson giving Wasps a 0-9 lead going into half time. An interesting stat came out showing Bath have the worst penalty count in the league averaging 12.3 per game showing where the games have been lost in this campaign. As the half time whistle shreeled out the air of pessimism was starting to filter around, could we lose to relegation battlers Wasps?
As the half time pasties, pies and pints were purchased the thoughts were is there anyway way back or will this sum up our season. Well let's at least see what the second half has to throw at us?
Well it seemed something had clicked in the time out in the changing room as seven minutes in a over the line drops Mearsey showing again why we've missed his time off for injury. The dynamics were really flipped on their heads when up steps Eastmond, whose transition from league to union hasn't quite gone to the desired plan. Eastmond came on as a blood sub for Carrero and automatically pepped up the boys resulting in that man Donald crossing the line, suddenly Bath had a 12-9 lead and looked to be in control. Proof to how good Eastmond had been there was a disappointment when Carrero actually came back on, but this was very short lived. The moment had arrived........a mass subs change and enter the frame fir one last time on the rec..... BELLY!!!! A rapturous applause ensued and positivity flooded the park again. We also got to see Dixon run out for the last time down st the Rec, scene was set Belly, Carrero and Dixon all out for their final farewell to Bath's faithful. Then the dream seemed to hit reality as Abendanon crossed over taking the tally to 17 and the impetus riding Bath's way. Due to the Bath way they did let slip another penalty to which Robinson happily slotted over leaving Wasps looking for a losing bonus point.
Possibly the most talked about moment came when an unfortunate Sam Vesty made what can only be described as a schoolboy error. When he seemed to be a shoe in for giving Bath a rare try scoring bonus and stripping Wasps of their bonus point, he prematurely celebrated the score before dabbing down. The issue with came when Tom Vardell turned on the burners and caught him and stopping the score. The TMO was called into play although the answer was known around the ground, more embarrassing was the TMO itself awarding the not awarding the try sending confusion amongst all spectators. For so many you knew the discontent and abuse would ensue upon Vesty for losing the bonus point this would be in my eyes an uncalled for and wrong thing to do! Yes he did make the mistake, but after the first half performance by the team to accuse one man for a whole team is wrong!! I will now step down from my soap box.
When the final whistle was blown a cheer of jubilation filled the ground for the dream send off of a win had happened and Belly, Dixon and Carrero could leave know their last game in the city of Bath had been victorious!!!