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Worcester fightback leaves Bath beaten and finishing bottom

By PA
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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Bath were condemned to a bottom-of-the-table finish as they suffered a 43-27 defeat to Worcester at Sixways in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership regular season. Jamie Shillcock led the way with a hat-trick for the hosts, who also saw Kyle Hatherell, Gareth Simpson and Joe Batley cross.

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A Will Muir double and Will Stuart’s score put Bath in control in the first half but the Warriors fought back to leapfrog their visitors in the basement battle. Worcester started on top and Bath succumbed to pack pressure when Hatherell’s reach for the line put the hosts ahead.

The blue, black and whites were quickly back in the game as Muir hared after Orlando Bailey’s kick to dot down just inside the dead-ball line. Muir doubled up in trademark style as he overcame flaky attempted tackles down the left wing to put his side ahead and establish Bath’s control over the clash.

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After a Fin Smith penalty reduced the gap, Jonathan Joseph’s neatly-timed pass as the challenging Hatherell closed in unleashed Stuart, who found a gap to run it in from 35 metres and put the visitors ahead as the half-time whistle was blown.

Worcester came out the traps quickly after the restart and a backline break from inside their own 22 set Duhan van der Merwe free, the Scotland international passing the ball inside to the supporting Simpson for the score. An instant response arrived in the form of a Bailey penalty before Tom Dunn applied the finishing touch off the back of a driving maul as Bath hit back.

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Warriors counter-struck as an overlap reached Shillcock for a try and the full-back added another score moments later following a slick offload assist from the impressive Smith. Bath thought they had another score back through Ewan Richards, but a TMO check revealed a high hit from Charlie Ewels on Hatherell, earning the Bath captain a yellow card and chalking the try off the scoreboard.

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Steve Diamond’s side quickly took advantage, extending their lead as Batley blocked a Ben Spencer box kick before grounding the loose ball. Shillcock secured his hat-trick with the final score of the game, finishing from close range to put the score beyond Bath’s reach.

The visitors will perhaps be relieved their torrid season is over and will hope for vast improvement under their new-look coaching team, spearheaded by Johann Van Graan, next season.

Worcester, meanwhile, celebrated triumphantly as they avoided the wooden spoon in a season which has also brought the club silverware in the form of the Premiership Rugby Cup, Warriors’ first trophy since being promoted from the Championship in 2014/15.

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