Aviva Premiership - Late penalty try earns Bath draw at Exeter
Last Updated: 29/12/12 6:38pm
Bath came from behind to snatch a dramatic 12-12 draw with west country rivals Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
The Chiefs looked set to claim their first Aviva Premiership victory over their near-neighbours when leading 12-5, however a 76th-minute penalty try, converted by Tom Heathcote, ensured the points were shared.
Both sides went into the game on the back of defeats with Exeter seeing their run of seven victories halted by Gloucester, while Bath were hammered 22-0 at home to Saracens.
The Chiefs applied the early pressure and it came as no surprise when Gareth Steenson landed the opening penalty after 12 minutes.
But the visitors hit back immediately with a try started and finished by scrum-half Michael Claassens in the left corner with great support play from wing Tom Biggs and fly-half Steven Donald. Claassens was unable to convert his own effort from the touchline.
Exeter wasted a try-scoring opportunity when full-back Luke Arscott made the break through the middle and, with scrum half Hayden Thomas on his right in space, he passed to lock Aly Muldowney who was quickly brought to ground.
The Chiefs were able to create breaks from deep in their own half but unforced errors or penalties were again their downfall when they ventured into the Bath 22 allowing the visitors to keep their line intact.
Then, with time already up on the clock in the first half, Bath wing Horacio Agulla was penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck and Steenson stepped-up to land his second kick of the game and nudge the Chiefs into a 6-5 half-time lead.
Steenson increased the lead minutes after the restart - the former Ireland Under 21 international's penalty took him past 1,000 points since his Exeter debut in 2008.
The Chiefs were an improved side after the break and when Bath strayed offside inside their own 22, Steenson stepped up to slot home his fourth penalty kick.
With time ticking down Exeter looked set to send the majority of the 10,744 sell-out crowd happy, however late pressure from Bath eventually ended in the award of a penalty try, which Heathcote converted.
Aviva Premiership 12/13 Round 12
Saracens closed within a point of the Premiership lead thanks to a 17-16 win over Northampton Saints at stadium:mk.
Nick Evans kicked 16 points as Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins saw off London Irish 26-15 at Twickenham.
Quins are gunning for a fifth straight win against a London Irish side who are at the wrong end of the table.