Aviva Premiership: Late Leicester Tigers try denies Bath
Last Updated: 05/01/14 6:09pm
A last-minute try from flanker Jamie Gibson gave Leicester a 27-27 draw in a dramatic finish against old rivals Bath at Welford Road.
The visitors had led after two tries in five first-half minutes, as Anthony Watson and Francois Louw cancelled out Miles Benjamin's earlier score for Tigers.
A try from Jonathan Joseph 10 minutes into the second half then gave Bath a 10-point cushion only for replacement Thomas Waldrom to score Tigers' second and set up a grand finale.
Bath held out until the final minute when Gibson went over to level the scores, but with Owen Williams - who had earlier kicked four penalties - unable to convert, the points were shared.
Williams missed four attempts at goal and that proved the difference for the hosts, who have not lost at home to Bath in a decade.
George Ford pulled the strings for Bath and created tries for Louw and Joseph and kicked 12 points, just four days before England head coach Stuart Lancaster names his elite player and Saxons squads.
Nine minutes were on the clock when Benjamin ran in the opening try, benefiting from sustained pressure by Leicester as they crept towards the whitewash.
The ball was spun right and Louis Deacon supplied the scoring pass, although a slight pause in Benjamin's stride gave Bath half a chance of defending the score.
Stung into action, Bath responded with two tries, both created by their threequarters and aided by poor tackling from Leicester.
Nick Abendanon sliced through the home defence as they attacked from a line-out before sending Watson over with wing Niall Morris stranded.
The second try was even better as Kyle Eastmond wriggled through a gap and found Ford who could have completed the run-in himself, but instead fed Louw who galloped over.
Ford's kicking and a missed penalty from Williams put Bath 17-11 ahead, but it was Leicester who threatened next as Benjamin chipped into space only to be undone by an unkind bounce.
A timely steal from Matt Banahan eased the pressure on the visitors' line but with centre Vereniki Goneva proving influential, it was soon back under attack.
Williams hit the mark with a penalty, but Ford replied on the stroke of half-time as Bath crept 20-14 ahead.
Ford was instrumental as the visitors re-established their superiority, initially by producing a fine touch-finder and then delicately teeing up Joseph for his team's third try.
There was still plenty of work for Joseph to do from five yards out, but the England centre showed slippery footwork before reaching out to place the ball down.
Leicester sprang into life as they launched waves of attacks, only to suffer a setback when lock Ed Slater was forced off following a heavy collision.
Bath captain Stuart Hooper was sin-binned for taking a man out at the line-out, but the Tigers declined to kick for goal.
On four occasions Toby Flood made the same decision, and on the last occasion it paid dividends as Waldrom grabbed the ball from the line-out and powered over.
Williams failed to add the extras but the late assault continued, ending with Gibson crashing over in the right corner with a brilliant finish as Banahan sought to bundle him into touch.
But the comeback was only half-complete as Williams missed again from the touchline.
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 12
Wasps match-winner Andy Goode admitted he had a "stinker" for all but the final act of his side's 19-16 win over Exeter.
Andy Goode's last-gasp drop-goal secured Wasps a dramatic 19-16 victory over battling Exeter at Adams Park.
Bath head coach Mike Ford was pleased with his side's draw at Leicester despite 'feeling like it was a loss'.
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