Wasps lined up with a relatively young side against a strong Bath United team which included a number of players who have featured in the Aviva Premiership this season.
Wasps began well, winning a penalty in the middle of the field, and Elliot Daly kicked the home side into a good position inside their opponent’s 22. Wasps were awarded a free kick and opted for a scrum. Ben Maidment picked from the base and set up a ruck, allowing new signing Mike Mayhew to pick and crash over the line under the posts. Elliot Daly did the honours, 7-0 to Wasps.
From the kick off Bath rallied and camped in Wasps’ twenty-two. After a sustained period of pressure, Bath were awarded a penalty and scrum half Matt Keyte took advantage, taking it quickly and getting over the line to score. Paul Roberts converted to even the score.
A break from Mayhew left a two on one against Bath fullback Chris Lewis but bad handling in wet conditions resulted in a knock-on and Lewis capitalised, kicking ahead for Tom Biggs to chase. Bath chased in numbers, turning the ball over in Wasps’ twenty-two. Wasps looked to be in real danger but poor handling in the Bath midfield allowed Wasps to regroup and win the ball back, clearing their lines well.
Jack Wallace put up an up and under which was collected at the back by Paul Roberts, who kicked well, hitting touch. Christian Wade took the lineout quickly to Jonah Holmes who sliced the ball off of the outside of his boot. Wasps won the resulting lineout but proceeded to knock the ball on, giving Bath the ball back in a strong position inside the home team’s twenty-two. Wasps again defended well against sustained attack from Bath and a big two-up hit in midfield resulted in Bath centre Ben Mosses losing control of the ball, knocking it on. From the scrum Jonah Holmes fed Elliot Daly, finding touch almost on the halfway line.
Bath gave away a penalty on the halfway line for holding on and Daly kicked into the twenty-two. Wasps caught the lineout and set up a rolling maul but were penalised after they peeled off for coming off their feet at the breakdown. Bath kicked clear and worked their way up the field. Wasps were penalised for hands in the ruck and Bath opted to kick at goal but Paul Roberts missed the penalty.
Wasps were awarded a penalty on the halfway line after Bath came through the ruck to snag Holmes illegally. Daly kicked into the twenty-two but Bath won the line-out. They cleared to Christian Wade who returned the ball with intent but was stopped near the opposition’s ten-metre line. Bath replaced scrum half Matt Keyte with Freddie Strange. A series of phases controlled by the forwards and narrow back moves took Wasps up the field and they were awarded a penalty inside Bath’s twenty-two just to the left of the posts. Daly slotted the penalty to leave the scores at 10-7 until half time.
Bath made five changes at the break, replacing Tom Biggs, Ross Batty, John van der Giessen and Andy Beattie with Ted Stagg, Rhys Davies, James Stephenson and Ollie Woodburn. While Wasps made two changes, replacing try scorer Mike Mayhew with Igino Corradi, and Elliot Daly with Steve Hamilton.
Wasps began the second half well playing most of their rugby within Bath’s half but struggled to penetrate into their twenty-two. Wasps were awarded a scrum from which Ben Maidment picked from the base and surged into the twenty-two. After a number of phases, Wasps were awarded a penalty but Mark Atkinson pushed the ball just to the right of the posts. Bath replaced Mark Lilley with Kane Palma-Newport. The visitors took advantage of the twenty-two drop out and cleared their lines. Bath stole back possession of the ball and broke down the blindside. Ted Stagg burst through the line, drew the covering defender and released Jacques Boussuge who sprinted down the touch line to score under the posts. Paul Roberts did the honours, converting to leave Bath leading 14 points to 10.
Christian Wade was replaced by Frankie Neale after playing 55 minutes in his first game back after injury.
Wasps were caught offside at the restart but won the ball back when Bath picked from the base. They pushed forward into the Bath half after a number of phases, eventually being awarded a penalty 40 metres out but Atkinson failed to dissect the posts. The ball dropped short but Wasps did well to react, chasing up and refusing to allow Bath to clear their lines. Wasps turned the ball over and kept applying pressure until, after a number of penalties against the visitors, the referee awarded a penalty try to Wasps and Atkinson converted from in front of the posts leaving Wasps ahead, 17 points to 14.
Bath replaced Ben Mosses with Tom Heathcote.
Wasps looked to be boosted by their latest efforts and kept the pressure on the visitors. After a number of phases Mark Atkinson stepped inside the onrushing defender and broke the line, linking well with Alex Cheeseman who was snagged by the covering defence. Bath cleared but Jack Wallace returned the ball with intent, cruising around the defence before being stopped just outside the Bath twenty-two. Bath eventually cleared but again Wallace was there to clear up the loose ball and moved into the Bath half. He was left isolated and Bath turned him over at the breakdown but the visitors knocked on and went on to give away a penalty at the scrum for not binding properly. Wasps kicked themselves into the twenty-two. Jason Hobson was replaced by Ben Ashmore and Will Robinson came on to replace Mark Atkinson. From the lineout Wasps were awarded a penalty with Kane Palma-Newport being sent to the sin bin. Max Ashcroft came on as a sin bin replacement for James Stephenson. Will Robinson, who had just replaced Mark Atkinson, slotted the penalty to push the home side further into the lead, 20-14. Mitchell Tamiau came on to replace Jack Wallace for the home team. Shaun Ruwers was soon after replaced by Alec Hepburn.
Bath came back well and camped themselves inside the Wasps twenty two. A substantial period of pressure was broken when Bath knocked on. Kane Palma-Newport had done his time in the sin bin but was replaced by Max Ashcroft, allowing James Stephenson to return to the field. From the scrum, Wasps were awarded a penalty for collapsing the scrum and this allowed Wasps to clear their lines, signalling the end of the game. Wasps ran out 20-14 winners after a tough but encouraging game against arguably more experienced opponents.