With this being the last paper of the year, what better time to look back and see how the season has unfolded for Bath’s rugby and football teams?
Bath Rugby are well on their way to complete a successful campaign. They currently sit 3rd in the AVIVA Premiership, level on points with Saracens in 2nd and 6 clear of Leicester in 5th. This means they are on course to finish in the top 4 in the Premiership, earning them a place in the play-offs and a shot to claim the title for this season, a year after missing out agonisingly to Harlequins for the 4th final play-off place. Bath face home fixtures against London Irish and Gloucester with an away trip to the Stoop to face Harlequins sandwiched in between during the last month of the campaign. With those 3 sides all sitting in the bottom half of the Premiership and Saracens still facing fixtures against league leaders Northampton and 4th placed Exeter, hopes are high that Bath can finish the season in the top 2 and guarantee themselves a home semi-final.
It was also Bath’s most successful European campaign for six years as they reached the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup where they narrowly lost in Leinster in Dublin.
After a tough start to their pool where they lost to Glasgow Warriors and Toulouse, Bath’s European adventure seemed like it would end in the group stage. However, after back-to-back victories over Montpelier in December, a stunning 35-18 victory away to Toulouse gave Bath hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals. A tense 20-15 victory against Glasgow at the Rec confirmed their qualification from the group, becoming the first club to ever qualify for the last eight after losing their first two fixtures. Their quarter final fixture against Leinster was to end in disappointment though as too many first half errors meant they succumbed to a 18-15 defeat despite scoring two tries to the home side’s zero.
It was also a successful season for many of Bath’s internationals who became integral parts of England’s Six Nations challenge. George Ford at fly half was impressive and formed a promising partnership with Ben Youngs in the middle of the park ahead of the World Cup later this year. The Bath man ended the competition as the top points-scorer after scoring 25 points against France in the final match. Anthony Watson scored two tries on his debut campaign and Jonathan Joseph was a revelation at centre for England, topping the try scoring charts with 4.
Bath City FC have also had a good 2014-2015 season. The team enjoyed a memorable FA Trophy run, reaching the semi-finals where they faced North Ferriby United. Having never played at Wembley before, the Romans were only a penalty shootout away from marching on towards the final, but they were eventually beaten over two legs. After a 2-2 draw at Twerton Park in the first leg, the sides drew 1-1 in Yorkshire. This meant the fixture went to extra time but after 210 minutes of football the two sides were unable to separated, and it was Ferriby who emerged victorious from the dreaded penalty shootout with four converted penalties to two. Whilst the cup run has undoubtedly been a high point of the season, with victories over higher league opposition in Bristol Rovers, Altrincham and Dover, Bath’s league form has not been as strong. After a slow start to the season, Bath did well to recover to mid-table where they have stayed for the remainder of the season, failing to mount a push towards the play-offs. Bath’s form has dropped off after the devastating loss but there have also been some memorable matches in the league, including a remarkable 7-4 against victory Farnborough. They also beat the Hampshire side 7-2 away from home, being named BBC 606’s Non-League team of the Day for the result.