By Ben Lovell-Smith
It was another disappointing Wednesday for Cardiff as they were blown away by Bath’s strong forward pack in poor conditions, making it six losses on the bounce for the boys in red and black with a 21-38 loss.
The game started with promise. A fantastic turnover in the midfield caught Bath off guard, giving Huw Roberts the opportunity to eat up the open space before offloading to his winger, George Thomas, who grubbered through and utilised his searing pace to finish a stellar try and put Cardiff into the lead.
However Bath seemed to be galvanised by this and responded with two quick tries. Utilising their strong pack and managing the conditions excellently. It was nothing glamorous, but highly effective.
Cardiff remained determined and were getting a fair amount of joy in the wide channels. Roberts was able to take advantage of the space and broke the defensive line again, this time down the right hand side, giving the Cardiff forwards the perfect opportunity to give Bath a taste of their own medicine. With the pack scoring a push over try on the base of posts and levelling the scores once more.
However, the dominance of the Bath forwards was becoming too much to handle and Cardiff were conceding too many penalties at the set piece and at the break down. The situation was made worse when tighthead prop Freddie Barnes was forced off with a broken nose. Bath remained composed and used their opportunities well, but it was not pretty. Playing to their strengths in the torrid conditions, they retained possession for the remainder of the half and were able to score two more almost identical tries. Kicker George Worboys was on fire too, converting all his kicks, including an outstanding one from the touchline at the end of the half.
The second half was a scrappy affair in worsening conditions, a factor which simply played into the hands of the Bath gameplan. Bath’s forwards continued to dominate the game and added a further ten points to the score, putting the game out of Cardiff’s reach.
The most delightful part of the game came at the end. As Cardiff were gaining little ground in attack it forced a change in plan. A pinpoint up and under, allowed Thomas to put enough pressure on the catcher to force an error, and super sub Charlie Dyde capitalised with a wonderfully subtle pick up and offload. After a quick ruck, Cardiff crossed the line, putting some gloss on the scoreline.
Despite the poor run of form, Cardiff should remain upbeat and remember that the horrific conditions of the past months are not suited to their skillful and expansive team. Expect them to climb the league table once the conditions dry up.