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All square in new year's opener

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We knew it would be close, but you can't get any closer than that - a high-scoring draw sealed with the last move of the match.

Last week The Tig Blog recounted many of the matches between Tigers and Bath which have been decided one way or another by a single score or less.

The list included a last-minute try from Julien Dupuy in a European quarter-final, a last-minute try for Francois Louw at The Rec last season, a single-point win down at The Rec in an LV= Cup semi-final and a late score from Harry Ellis which gained a nail-biting draw at home.

Sunday’s meeting between old foes lived up to all of that pedigree and more. Six tries and 54 points shared evenly in front of a crowd approaching 22,500. What a start to the new year.

Both teams wanted, in Richard Cockerill’s words, “to have a crack” and both teams got their rewards.

Tigers set off like a train with the forwards carrying the fight to Bath and Miles Benjamin claiming his first Aviva Premiership try for the club with a smart finish.

But back came a confident Bath side with enterprising scores from Anthony Watson and Louw again.

Penalties were exchanged, the margins grew finer, the home crowd hoped for a 'forward pass' call when Jonathan Joseph claimed a third try for the visitors and, still, there was a heat in the battle worthy of those previous Leicester-Bath match-ups.

Tigers trailed by 10 points going into the last quarter, then Thomas Waldrom dotted down – right on the tryline from a driving maul. And finally, breathlessly, Jamie Gibson assured his place in folklore with a calm finish in the corner.

The scores level, there was still an opportunity for Owen Williams to snatch a win with a touchline conversion. The replay shows he struck the kick well but it drifted right and honours ended even.

A day for the neutrals certainly, thrilling entertained in front of their TV sets, but also a day for fans of both clubs to acknowledge just how deep players have to dig to take points in Premiership matches, and a great advert for the club game.