If you have had your head buried in your books and lecture notes during the January exams you may well not know what has been happening to Bath’s sports clubs. Well, if you want to know, you’ve come to the right place, and it has been quite a month!
Firstly, Bath Rugby are through to the quarter-finals of the rebranded European Rugby Champions Cup. In a tough pool, Bath finished ahead of Toulouse, Glasgow Warriors and Montpellier. Qualification looked unlikely earlier on the season though when Bath lost their first two pool fixtures. However, an excellent 18-35 bonus-point victory away at then pool leaders Toulouse kept qualification hopes alive and a thrilling 20-15 victory at The Rec against Glasgow Warriors confirmed their place in the last 8. Bath will have to summon the same spirit that won them qualification to beat the 2013-14 Pro 12 champions Leinster, away in Dublin, if they are to make their way into the semi-finals. Fans will have to wait until April for this match though, as the players who are not on international duty for the Six Nations turn their attention to the league with Bath looking to topple Northampton at the top of the table. The Saints currently hold a one point advantage but the two sides meet in Bath’s next home fixture on Saturday 21st February.
Bath City FC are also looking forward to a quarter-final of their own. The conference south team overcame Altrincham 1-0 to set up a quarter-final against Dover Athletic in the FA Trophy. The FA Trophy is a cup competition for teams in levels 5-8 of the football pyramid, and Dover Athletic, who like Altrincham play in the division above Bath, promise to be a tough opponent. A potential trip to Wembley for the first time in the club’s history is on the cards if Bath can get to the final. The team are facing a busy fixture schedule, but following a good run in the league they are also looking to make a push for the play-off positions. With Bath facing a run of away fixtures around their Trophy quarter final, the side’s next fixture at Twerton Park will be against Farnborough on Tuesday 17th February.
Meanwhile, as Semester 2 starts, the netball season is also beginning and Team Bath will look to regain their Superleague crown after finishing fourth last season. Team Bath recorded a 49-33 victory away to Team Northumbria in the opening week of the season, an encouraging result with many new signings making their debuts for the Blue and Golds. The team face Surrey Storm in their first home fixture on Monday 9th February in the Sports Training Village in a fixture which is heading towards a sell-out.
Team Bath’s skeleton athletes have also been in action during January with Dom Parsons finishing in 4th place in St Moritz, narrowly missing out on a second world cup podium. Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold returned to action at the start of January by finishing on the podium in Atenberg. However, Yarnold struggled in the following two races and the cancellation of the La Plagne event at the end of the month due to ‘unacceptable ice conditions’ sees the chances of defending her world cup title hanging in the balance.
Team Bath MCTA’s Anna Smith enjoyed a better month though with news that she has been called up by Federation Cup Captain Judy Murray to play for Britain when the multi-nation tennis event takes place in Hungary this month.
Photo credits: Kafuffle & Michael Powell