Last-gasp Bath sink Tigers
James settles thriller with late try
Last Updated: 15/11/08 4:00pm
Murphy heads to the corner
A last-gasp try from fly-half Butch James handed Bath a dramatic 25-21 victory over Leicester Tigers that keeps them top of the Guinness Premiership.
The South Africa international contributed 15 of his side's points and proved to be the match-winner as Bath edged a thriller at The Rec.
Leicester, who trailed 20-3 at interval, had produced a rousing second-half comeback and looked to have snatched an unlikely victory when Geordan Murphy converted replacement Mephin Davies' try three minutes from time to hand them a 21-20 lead.
But there was still more drama to follow and James ensured the hosts claimed the spoils as he touched down with time running out.
James had a mixed game opposite his countryman Derick Hougaard, whose tactical kicking and three penalties kept Tigers in the hunt after Pieter Dixon and Daniel Browne had crossed for the hosts against the run of play.
James opening the scoring on seven minutes but his unusually awry kicking allowed Leicester to boss play throughout the first 40 minutes, Hougaard levelling from close range on 14 minutes.
But the visitors failed to create the clear-cut openings that their dominance deserved, and it was Bath who claimed a decisive lead when hooker Dixon galloped all the way to the line from 45 metres out, James adding the extras.
Leicester continued to dominate but when they transgressed at the ruck James stretched the home lead, and with five minutes left before the break Bath scored a second try.
Geordan Murphy fumbled a grubber kick to allow a five-metre scrum, and the Bath pack - so staunch in defence for so long - had the strength to bundle the ball over with Browne coming up with the ball.
But the Tigers were invigorated after the break by two Hougaard penalties, and Matt Smith thought he had scored before play was brought back for a Lewis Moody knock-on.
However, Johne Murphy finally broke through in the corner and when Dixon was yellow-carded on 69 minutes Bath were really up against it.
Davies forced his way over with three minutes left and Murphy chipped the extras to give Tigers the lead they surely deserved, but James had the last laugh - creating the opening with a chip through which was collected by skipper Alex Crockett, who off-loaded for James to finished off.