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Bahrain 66 vs Abu Dhabi Saracens 0 – Feb 2nd 2018

Bahrain swept away lowly Abu Dhabi Saracens in a ruthless display of pace, physicality and skill.

It wasn’t all Bahrain in the early periods as multiple chances to score went astray in the first 15 minutes from a mixture of Bahrain error and gutsy defence from the travelling side. Saracens were in good spirit after picking up their first West Asia Premiership win last week against rivals and newbies Dubai Eagles – but that spirit was soon to be halted after Rob Bennett finally went over from a quick tap after a long period of Bahrain pressure – converted by centre Luke Radley.

After the first score Bahrain achieved three further tries from impressive fullback Deina Morete and wing Iwan Phillips from 2 really slick first phase possessions – something Bahrain have been working hard on since the Abu Dhabi Harlequins defeat – another cracker from Luke Radley assisted by a great slashing break from the returning skipper Adam Wallace saw the half time score of 26-0. The message from coaching staff at half time was to keep doing what you’re doing and don’t go off script because the pressure will start to tell and it certainly did with Bahrain racking up a further 6 tries and 40 crucial league points in the bag.

With Bahrain running riot the game haltered a little on the 65 min mark where tempers flared after a dangerous tackle – with players running in from both sides the referee sent off the two outside halves with two red cards showing zero tolerance for any nonsense.

Bahrain managed to regain momentum finally and exceptional tries from Mark Burnell, Joel Lewis, Rhys Fitzgerald, a brace from the ever-present Elliot Behan (taking his try tally to 5 in 8 games) and perhaps the most impressive of the day coming from wing Iwan Phillips with his second in the match cutting through 4 tacklers for a 50m solo effort.

It was great to see such a big crowd at Bahrain Rugby Club – even though the game was delayed by an hour due to flight delays the Bahrain faithful stayed loyal and showed fantastic support in what was Bahrain’s 3rd match at home in their last 13 games! It was a great night for the young squad with 3 significant players returning from injury with Adam Wallace our captain making his first start for Bahrain since the champions league in Sri Lanka, Greg Heath coming off the bench for his first game in 16 weeks and Bahrain’s impressive new recruit Ross Preedy coming off the bench and making a return to action after knee surgery 2 years ago.

The squad now are in a good place with their biggest game of the season around the corner – with Dubai Exiles shocking win at Jebel Ali Dragons – the top spot in the league is well and truly open again – Bahrain are now 6 point off the Exiles at the top with them to play next and also a game in hand. It’s all to play for in the most exciting West Asia Premiership campaign to date!!

Jodie Baker Photography