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.