Matt Banahan says Bath Rugby’s youngsters rose to the occasion as they fought back from behind to clinch a late LV= Cup victory over Harlequins at the Stoop.
Bath started the match at blistering pace and raced to a 10-0 lead thanks to an early try from Banahan and the boot of Will Homer.
However, despite a dominant opening quarter Quins fought back and tries from Tom Williams and Charlie Walker coupled with some fine kicking from Nick Evans gave them the lead.
And they looked like they would hold out when they went into the final minutes with a slender 21-20 advantage.
But a yellow card for Mark Lambert saw Quins go down to 14 and a late Rory Jennings penalty sealed the win.
“I felt a bit like daddy day care all week trying to get them to play their roles but when you put them on the pitch everything comes so natural to them,” said Banahan.
“When I played my first Premiership game a lot of them were only ten-years-old so I feel quite old; but the levels of the boys coming through these days is incredible and it’s pushing the senior boys to keep performing.
“We try and start every game as quickly and with as much pace as we can and sometimes it’s too good to be true.
“In the second half we knew our roles though and we rose to it and slowed everything down and in the end we made the break.
“Success breeds success and when you turn up to training and are winning it comes second nature, you’re not trying to force things.”
The win is Bath’s second in the LV= Cup so far whereas their opponents now have one win from their three fixtures, with the knock-outs now out of reach.
And Lambert admitted the manner of the defeat was the hardest pill to swallow.
“That was very hard to take. We said in the huddle that we gave ourselves that little bit too much to do and are very disappointed to lose the way we did in the end with the penalty,” he said.
“I am just gutted for the boys because the effort they put in after that first few minutes was phenomenal and we really clawed our way back into the game and are scratching our heads a bit because we could have had it won.
“It’s always been a great competition for us, the LV=Cup, and we’ve had success in it in the past and always gone with the same formula of having some experienced guys in there.
“We’ll take a lot from it but it would have been nice to get that victory at the end.”
Harlequins: Chisholm; Williams (Lindsay-Hague 69), Casson, Sloan, Walker; Evans (Botica 74), Dickson; Marfo (Shields 62), Buchanan, Lambert, Merrick, Twomey, Trayfoot, Clifford, Chisholm
Replacements not used: Gray, Adeniran-Olule, Treadwell, Cheeseman, Burns
Bath: Agulla, Woodburn, Clark, Banahan, Lane, Jennings, Homer (Young 70), Auterac (Lahiff 51), Dunn, Palma-Newport, Day, Ewels (Ellis 51), Fa’osiliva, Mercer, Sisi
Replacements not used: Woolstencroft, Obano, Northcote-Green, Stringer, Wacokecoke
Tries: Williams, Walker, Conversions: Evans, Penalties: Evans 3
Tries: Banahan, penalty, Conversions: Homer 2, Penalties: Homer 2, Jennings