Chiefs U18s 7 Bath U18s 22

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Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Josh Pilkington looks to get the ball away during his side's clash with Bath at Truro College on Saturday

Exeter Chiefs Under-18s 7

Bath Under-18s 22

Mark Stevens

Exeter Chiefs Under-18s slipped to a second successive defeat in this season’s Premiership Rugby Under-18s League, going down 22-7 against rivals Bath at Truro College.

Having come unstuck to Saracens in their seasonal opener, this was a much-improved display from the young Chiefs, despite the final outcome.

Bath took the lead inside four minutes, claiming their opening try through hooker John Stewart, who was able to work his way over from a close-range, driving maul. Skipper Orlando Bailey converted to give the visitors a dream start.

Ten minutes later and Bath were extending their lead, Nat Arnold’s initial break caused the initial issues, before MacKenzie Graham took up the charge. He made decent strides through the heart of Exeter’s defence, until he was hauled down midway inside the Chiefs 22. He was, however, able to offload to fellow lock Ewan Richards, who cantered over for the unconverted score.

Down 12-0, the Chiefs needed to find a swift response. Thankfully, they started to find some rhythm in their play and they reduced the deficit when No.8 Ben Grubb picked up from a scrum, he fed fly-half Iwan Jenkins, who in turn offloaded to Archie Hill. Still with a bit to do, the centre drew in the cover, before shipping the ball to his right to winger Charlie Levick to score in the corner.

Jenkins drilled over a brilliant touchline conversion to leave just five points between the sides at the break.

Sadly, that would be as close as the Chiefs would get to their rivals, Bath claiming their third try inside three minutes of the second half when Richards claimed his second of the game, the towering forward dotting down after he was able to latch onto a crafty grubber kick in behind from No.8 Frankie Read.

Bailey slotted the extras to that score, before adding a late penalty, to seal victory for the visitors.

Post-game, Academy coach Marek Churcher said: “At times we played some really good rugby and our defence in patches was also very good. However, we just let ourselves down with lapses in concentration with some unforced errors and ill discipline. Bath made the most of the opportunities they had and that’s ultimately how they got their points.

“That said, it was a much improved performance from our first game, but we just need to erase these lapses. If we do, we then I’ve no doubt we are good to be a very good team.”

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