There were echoes of Bath’s glorious past at Franklin’s Gardens on Wednesday night as Tom De Glanville scored the try which propelled the visitors into the Premiership play-off zone.
The rookie full-back is the son of former Bath and England captain Phil De Glanville, who led the club to their last league title triumph in 1996. His strike just before the hour dramatically shifted the balance of power the way of Stuart Hooper’s under-strength side, against a powerful Saints line-up.
In the 58th minute, Ben Spencer hoisted a high kick deep into the hosts’ half and the ball was spilled by Ahsee Tuala. Bath regathered and Cameron Redpath surged into the Northampton 22. From quick ruck ball, Spencer’s pass reached De Glanville wide on the left and he held off two defenders to score.
It was to be his last act. Rory Hutchinson’s swinging arm caught De Glanville in the face as he stretched to touch down.
Northampton strove to respond, only to gift Bath another try. In the 67th minute, Saints hooker Sam Matavesi — brother of the visitors’ fly-half, Josh — saw his pass near halfway go loose and England wing Ruaridh McConnochie pounced, picking up and bursting clear to the posts for a try converted by Rhys Priestland, which ensured Bath would climb to fourth in the table.
It had been another slow-burner of a contest. In the 15th minute, Saints were reduced to 14 men when flanker JJ Tonks was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. It was home captain Teimana Harrison who stopped Zach Mercer in his tracks — but when Tonks arrived in defensive support it sent the Bath No 8 on to his head.
With the numerical advantage, Bath went ahead through a Josh Matavesi penalty, but after missing his first shot at the other end, Dan Biggar levelled the scores seven minutes before the break.
When Bath finally took charge, the Saints had no answer and Priestland added a late penalty for Hooper’s rising side.
Harlequins’ home game against Bath a week on Saturday has been selected as a trial match to welcome back supporters, who will be socially distanced. A decision on numbers will be made in due course.