Daily Express

Bath bat­tle on but fear worst as plug pulled

RUGBY BOSSES CALL FOR BAILOUT

- By Alex Spink Sports · Rugby · Gloucestershire · Rugby Football Union · Championship · England · England national football team · Warren Gatland · Exeter City F.C. · Exeter · Bath · Gloucester · Jo Jones

ENGLISH rugby turned to the Gov­ern­ment for a cash bailout af­ter be­ing forced back be­hind closed doors last night.

Hours be­fore 1,000 fans were due to watch Bath’s stun­ning come- from- be­hind win over Glouces­ter in the next step to­wards crowds re­turn­ing, the plug was pulled.

With spec­ta­tors now set to be shut out for another six months, Premier­ship chief ex­ec­u­tive Dar­ren Childs spoke of “ir­repara­ble dam­age” and RFU boss Bill Sweeney ad­mit­ted there would be “se­vere con­se­quences” across the sport.

Sweeney, right, said: “With no fans this au­tumn, we will see a £ 122mil­lion re­duc­tion in rev­enue re­sult­ing in a loss of £ 46m.

“And with no fans for the Guin­ness Six Na­tions, we will see a £ 138m re­duc­tion in rev­enue with a loss of £ 60m.”

He added that Premier­ship and Cham­pi­onship clubs faced “sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial hard­ship” and that com­mu­nity clubs, set to lose £ 86m this sea­son, were now “un­der threat”.

“From the out­set we have been clear that an au­tumn with­out crowds would leave us with lit­tle choice but to ap­proach Gov­ern­ment for fi­nan­cial help,” said Sweeney. “Un­for­tu­nately, we are now in that po­si­tion.

“With­out sup­port port we are in dan­ger er of clubs at the e heart of com­mu­ni­ties across Eng­land, as well as the play­ers and vol­un­teers, dis­ap­pear­ing for­ever.”

At an empty Rec, it was Bath’s play- off hopes that were in dan­ger of be­ing killed off when for­mer club favourite Matt Bana­han put Glouces­ter 20- 3 ahead on the hour. The big full- back rounded off a daz­zling move, ini­ti­ated by Jake Polledri, to add to Chris Harris’s equally smart fi­first first- half opener.

Bu But Bath re­fused to giv give up on their sea­son and, in front of Li­ons coach War­ren Gat­land and Eng­land coun­ter­part Ed­die Jo Jones, pro­duced an asto as­ton­ish­ing re­cov­ery to claim l i max­i­mum points. Tom Dunn did his hopes of a Test call- up no harm by spark­ing the re­vival with two quick­fire tries be­fore Lewis Boyce came off the bench to add a third. With two min­utes re­main­ing, scrum- half Ben Spencer raced away to bag the bonus point and send Bath sec­ond be­hind Ex­eter with one game to play – at Sara­cens on Sun­day week.

It was just a cry­ing shame there were no fans to cel­e­brate it.

“This was like the Golden Ticket,” said Bath chief ex­ec­u­tive Tar­quin McDon­ald.

“We are gut­ted for those sup­port­ers.”

BATH – Tries: Dunn ( 2), Boyce, Spencer. Cons:

Pen: Pri­est­land.

GLOUCES­TER – Tries: Harris, Bana­han.

Pens: Twel­ve­trees ( 2).

Cons:

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? WIN­DOW SEAT...
A fan shows her sup­port from a nearby prop­erty as Dunn grabs his first try
WIN­DOW SEAT... A fan shows her sup­port from a nearby prop­erty as Dunn grabs his first try
 ??  ?? NO ONE AROUND: The play­ers scrum down in front of an empty stand at the Rec
NO ONE AROUND: The play­ers scrum down in front of an empty stand at the Rec

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