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Immeasurable importance of a one-point win

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A comprehensive win over an old rival gladdens the heart, but is there anything more satisfying than grinding out a narrow victory in the face of adversity?

Last weekend, Tigers kicked off the Anglo-Welsh Cup season with a 21-20 victory over Bath down at The Rec. It may not have been totally pretty, but it would take a very hard heart to say it was completely deserved.
Tries from Luke Hamilton and a second in consecutive games for George Catchpole – after superb work from Freddie Burns and young George Worth in attack – had laid the foundation for a 21-8 lead for the visitors.
Bath, to give them and their young side due credit too, did not wither and in an enthralling game in front of the BT cameras, they cut the deficit to a single point, missing a conversion along the way which could have changed the outcome.
But the attitude in the Tigers ranks swung the decision in their favour. As coach Geordan Murphy described it, defenders kept getting up and making their shots. “They did it for each other,” he observed.
At times during the last half-hour the injury toll was such that those defenders were getting up and making their shots without fully knowing who was outside them to line up the next one, which speaks volumes for their application, their attitude and their spirit.
Throw in a yellow card to one of the most experienced men on the pitch and a head injury assessment for a player who had been there from the start of the game, and there were times when there was as much action on the touchline as there was in the centre of the field. Whatever, they came through it standing side by side.
Harry Wells, Greg Bateman, Harry Thacker and Will Evans were conspicuous all over the pitch, but there was not a man out there who missed his moment. Sam Harrison, a man with 100 first-team appearances under his belt at scrum-half, joined the action on the left wing after injury to Catchpole and by the end of the game he was just as likely to pop up at fly-half, still making his tackles, still getting back to his feet and anticipating the next one.
The final phases of the game, when Tigers held possession in the Bath half and repeatedly picked up, rucked and recycled, clinically keeping control while also running down the clock, said as much for their collective composure as the never-say-die defence did about their commitment.
The final whistle brought relief and celebration in equal parts as Tigers preserved their one-point lead. It had been nervy in the end but the sense of satisfaction among a bunch of players looking for their opportunity to impress could not have been greater if they’d racked up another 20 points of their own.