Exeter book LV Cup final against Northampton

Exeter Chiefs booked a place in the Anglo Welsh LV=Cup against Northampton Saints when they came from behind to beat Bath 19-22 at the Recreation Ground.

It had looked like the match would be going to extra-time when Tom Heathcote
lined up a long-range penalty at the death, but the kick fell short.

But with three tries to Bath’s one, Exeter deserved to progress and face the
Saints next Sunday.

Bath opened the scoring inside a minute when Nick Abendanon’s break was finished
off well by Leroy Houston, with Heathcote adding a superb touchline conversion
that put the hosts 0-7 ahead.

It was the perfect beginning for those home fans enjoying the sunshine at the
Recreation Ground.

Henry Slade did respond for Exeter off the kicking tee on seven minutes though
following a decent period of pressure to cut the lead to four points.

Exeter were now growing more and more into the game and in fact crossed the
line on 25 minutes when Luke Arscott was put over via a lovely inside ball.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Slade’s boot was letting him down and with Heathcote
adding three, the interval scoreline was 8-13.

Bath returned from the break in a nervy style and despite another Heathcote
penalty, there was a feeling the Chiefs could strike at any time. That they
did on 51 minutes as the busy Arscott slipped a tackle in midfield before sprinting
25 metres over. Slade made it 15-16.

Exeter were now on song and when replacement Fetu’u Vainikolo got past Gavin
Henson and ran in from 40 metres, Slade’s conversion moved Exeter into the lead
for the first time. Bath, with Francois Louw on, needed to regroup before the
game got away from them.

Heathcote made it 22-19 with eighteen minutes to go before Slade again missed
off the tee to hand Bath hope of possibly ensuring extra-time was to be on at
the Recreation Ground.

But Heathcote could not tie the game with the last kick of the game as his
long-range penalty attempt fell short and Arscott duly booted the ball out to
end the semi-final.

Final Score Bath (13) 19 Exeter Chiefs (8) 22

Scorers

Bath
Tries: Houston
Penalties: Heathcote (4)
Conversions: Heathcote

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Arscott (2), Vainikolo
Penalties: Slade
Conversions: Slade (2)

Match Officials
Referee:
Tim Wigglesworth (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Teams

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Nathan Catt

Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Mat Gilbert, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ben Williams, 23 Matt Banahan

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 James Hanks, 20 James Scaysbrook, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Fetu’u Vainikolo

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