Bath come up short
Bath fail at last hurdle
Bath v Purley
Premiership promotion Challenge
Final Score Bath 3:6 Purley
Having lost to East Grinstead in the East v West promotion playoff game, Bath invoked the right to challenge the 9thplaced Premiership team, Purley LC, for a place in next season’s top flight in the South of England.
The game hosted by Surrey club Walcountian Blues, given the conditions, very wet, very windy, very muddy; was never going to be a classic, however Bath, although the travelling team (Purley s ground is less than 10 miles from the Blues) would never have a better opportunity of taking one of the top sides in the South down; Several key players for the men in Purple being unavailable, giving Bath a numerical advantage. Captain Will Finlayson’s pre match talk was all about using the subs and running Purley into the ground.
It soon became apparent that Purley were in no mood to give up their place in the Premiership lightly, highly committed and more importantly they had a game plan, slow the ball down, keep possession and be patient. Using England squad man Mike Barratt to not only hold the ball up in attack but to cause havoc in close quarters, rolling the Bath defenders to score three goals and give Purley a two goal lead at the half.
Bath were always going to have chances, in fact they created more attempts on goal, outstanding keeping and poor shooting meant the Purley side were repeatedly let off the hook. Even as the Surrey side began to tire, Bath failed to keep their calm, chasing the game and rushing when in possession, despite a dominant 3rdquarter, which saw a great behind the head shot from Peter Short, Bath just could not convert the possession. Looking objectively, Purley won through experience, which comes with the territory, and deserved to stay in the top flight.
All in all Captain Will Finlayson has to be proud of his squad, losing only 2 games in the whole season and there have been some memorable moments, not least an intermediate flag to go in the trophy cupboard. Bath are very close to Premiership status, and will be the dominant force in West 1 next season, despite the presence of Bristol who enter the fray, demoted from the Premiership. Plus the age of the team is somewhat reduced from earlier years due to young players coming in from the youth programme and Fresher programme at Bath University.
1stquarter Bath 1:2 Purley
2ndquarter Bath 0:1 Purley
3rdquarter Bath 2:1 Purley
4thquarter Bath 0: 2 Purley
Final score Bath 3:6 Purley
Doug Mackay 1
Matt King 1
Peter Short 1 (1)