Wasps 27 Bath 24
Sport, like life, is all about taking your chances when they are presented. This afternoon at Adams Park, Wasps, through the pace of their electric wingers and the precision of Nick Robinson’s goal kicking, took theirs and Bath did not. It was as simple as that.
It was a pulsating match that went right to the wire and the lively crowd were treated to an exciting spectacle where Wasps were always in the ascendancy, but victory was only confirmed in the final moments. Ultimately it was just about deserved.
After three recent defeats, Wasps needed a performance, they needed to front up and prove to themselves and their supporters that they have the determination and fight to succeed. They certainly answered a few critics today and the coaching staff will be mightily satisfied with both their commitment and effort.
Allied to this, the return of Nick Robinson at fly half, after missing the last three matches, was significant. He showed his class and experience, slotting his goal kicks with aplomb, adding a controlled measure to the Wasps game plan and his slick hands and vision created the second score.
Yet for all Robinson’s contribution, and Wasps’ forwards determined efforts at the coal face, and they certainly put in a shift today, it is the speed of the wingers that adds the gloss. Both of their speedsters, Tom Varndell and Christian Wade have that rare ability to lift the supporters off their seats. It is they who the fans want to see and it is they who they are talking about in the bars after the match.
What it is about pace? Why does it excite us so much? Why is it that the 100 metres is always the blue riband event at the Olympics, the ticket to die for and the most eagerly awaited event? Why do we all dream of driving fast cars ? Speed is a rare commodity, it is daring, it is dangerous and exciting. On the rugby pitch, Wasps have pace to burn outside and in the first half, both Wade and Varndell had one chance each. Their eyes visibly light up when they are in sight of the try line and today they needed no second invitation, both taking their chances with relish, much to the delight of the excited crowd. Like the best 100 metres sprinters they draw on the crowd and need the stage on which to perform. They are both showmen, their bright fluorescent boots catch the eye and speak of men confident in their own ability. Fortunately for Wasps, their confidence is matched by their performance on the field of play and Bath were left chasing shadows as both men scored crucial tries showing exceptional pace and a deadly eye.
Bath will consider themselves unlucky and perhaps justifiably so. Their game is very much based on pace too and winning quick ball. The way they have torn Wasps apart in the last two St George’s Day matches at Twickenham, will have put fear into all Wasps in advance of today’s match. They carried on in a similar vein today and created a number of opportunities. Whilst they did touch down for two tries, on three other separate occasions they failed to score with the try line at their mercy and chances went begging. Costly mistakes indeed and they will be ruing those chances that got away as they lick their wounds on their way back home.
As the Queen classic “Don’t Stop Me Now” was played to celebrate victory at the final whistle, Wasps players and supporters breathed a heavy sigh of relief. It was a hard fought victory, and whilst it may be a little premature to think that this win will make supersonic men out of the players, so long as Varndell and Wade continue to travel at the speed of light and Robinson continues to take his chances there remains hope. Don’t stop believing!
9 October 2011