Bath 37 pts, Worcester Warriors 22

THE 37-22 scoreline might look emphatic but it only paints half the picture of an action-packed Aviva Premiership clash at the Recreation Ground.

All the pre-match talk centred on how Bath would look to exploit the inexperience of Warriors’ teenage full-back Jamie Shillcock on his Premiership debut.

Shillcock had an early let off and grew in confidence as Carl Hogg’s injury-hit Warriors withstood an opening onslaught to build a substantial 17-3 lead deep into the first half.

Worcester held a 17-6 advantage at the interval and the returning Tom Heathcote had an opportunity to kick Warriors further in front in the early exchanges of the second half.

However, the Worcester fly-half missed the target with his penalty attempt and a three-try blitz in 15 minutes put in-form Bath on course for victory.

Worcester’s scrum took a hammering in the second half as Bath’s bench had a significant impact and the penalty count rose against the visitors.

Hamstring injuries for flanker Marco Mama and wing Dean Hammond, who left the field moments after scoring a fine try, could add further disruption to the squad.

Mama has been Warriors’ stand-out performer and was causing Bath a headache at the breakdown until he hobbled off in the 23rd minute.

Perry Humphreys underlined his promise with another superbly taken touchdown.

The link-up play from the centre pairing of Jackson Willison and Wynand Olivier was exciting  in the first half with Worcester on the front foot.

George Ford, who finished with 17 points, immediately tested Shillcock with an early kick which was snaffled by Anthony Watson. And Bath should have opened the scoring soon afterwards but Matt Banahan couldn’t find Leroy Houston on the overlap.

Ford missed an early penalty before Val Rapava Ruskin was inches away from touching down.

However, Worcester kept up the intensity and hooker Niall Annett dived over after a defence-splitting break from Olivier.

Heathcote added the conversion before Ford slotted a three-pointer but Warriors grabbed a thrilling second try.

The supporting Shillcock showed a turn of pace down the left to find Hammond who brushed past Tom Homer to score in the corner.

Heathcote added the extras and then another penalty to fire Worcester 17-3 ahead.

 Bath replied with a penalty from Ford on the stroke of half-time after Donncha O’Callaghan had caught Henry Thomas with a high tackle.

Heathcote missed a three-pointer before the hosts finally sparked into life and Watson went over for a converted score.

Banahan collected Ford’s chip to barge over the line from close range and the conversion gave Bath a 20-17 lead.

Ford slotted a penalty before Semesa Rokodguni collected an offload from Banahan for a converted score to drive home the hosts’ advantage.

Humphreys gave Warriors renewed hope when he handed off Watson to power over in the corner.

Bath had the final word through the returning Houston who swallow-dived over for a bonus-point try with Ford adding the extras.