On a bitterly cold evening for The Rec faithful, it was Quins who came away with a win after delivering an unrelenting attack.
A try from Will Butt closed the gap in the second half, but magic from Cadan Murley gave Quins a six-point lead.
Fighting to the last second, it wasn’t to be for the hosts who came away with a losing bonus point.
Ben Spencer was back to captain the Blue, Black and White to take on Harlequins.
England international Joe Cokanasiga made his first start for Bath since October which saw Matt Gallagher move to fullback.
Scotland international Cameron Redpath returned to inside centre, paired alongside Ollie Lawrence.
Dave Attwood returned to the Gallagher Premiership after featuring in the Premiership Rugby Cup last weekend following his three-week ban, and Will Spencer also returned to the Premiership coming off the bench in the second row.
Harlequins made just one change to their XV who secured victory over Gloucester last week with Oscar Beard coming in in the number 13 jersey.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Butt, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer (c); 1 Valeriy Morozov, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Miles Reid, 8 Josh Bayliss
Impact players: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Richard de Carpentier
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Marley, 13 Oscar Beard, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Wilco Louw, 4 Dino Lamb, 5 Irne Herbst, 6 Jack Kenningham, 7 Will Evans, 8 Alex Dombrandt (c)
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Archie White, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Lennox Anyanwu
Kicking off under the Friday night lights at a very chilly Rec, the game’s first scrum came in the opening minute after pressure from Bath forced a Quins knock-on.
A strong contest from both packs allowed Ben Spencer to kick the ball downfield for Quins fullback Nick David to break through the Bath line. Earning a scrum just outside the Bath 22, it was Quins captain Alex Dombrandt who got the first score of the game under the posts after a feed from Danny Care, converted cleanly by Tommy Allan.
Bath sent the ball deep from the restart and placed themselves down in Quins 22. David cleared into the stands for Tom Dunn to take the first line out of the evening. Sweeping the ball out through the pack, Ted Hill carried hard and Quins found themselves offside. Orlando Bailey kicked Bath’s first points of the game in front of the sticks sitting the score at 3-7.
Joe Cokanasiga found himself in possession from the restart and brazenly bounced off the Quins defence, but unluckily brought down inside the 22. The slippery conditions allowed Cokanasiga’s offload to go unclaimed allowing Quins to clear their lines.
Gifting possession back to the visitors, referee Andrew Brace blew for crossing and Bath were soon having to switch to defence mode on their five-metre line. Managing to steal the ball from the line-out but they were pulled up for knocking the ball on.
After sweeping the ball out from the scrum, the visitors were dealt huge blows from Ollie Lawrence forcing Quins to play the long game and eventually claim their second try in the 23rd minute through the hands of outside centre Oscar Beard. With Allan missing the conversion the score sat at 3-12.
Earning two penalties through Miles Reid and Josh Bayliss turnovers, Orlando Bailey shaved both kicks just wide of the posts and Bath trailed nine points at the break after staving off Quins relentless attack in the closing minutes of the first half.
Getting Bath off a strong second half start, Will Butt replicated some of the magic he showed against Leicester and gave Bath their first try of the evening, closing the gap to 10-12.
Ted Hill soon gave Bath another break and charged up the field galloping towards Quins defenders. Halting Bath’s momentum and holding up Fergus Lee-Warner in tackle, there wasn’t much the lock could do to escape the sandwich tackle and Quins were given a chance to kick to touch.
Hunting down and interception, Cameron Redpath tried to claim the ball but an unlucky bounce for Bath landed in the hands of a speedy Caden Murley who darted amongst the Bath pack to cross over for Quins’ third, converted by Allan to take the score to 10-19.
Earning a penalty from the restart, Bailey’s HIA replacement Piers Francis brought the hosts to within half a dozen and sat Bath within losing bonus point territory.
Putting the Bath defenders to work once again, Quins ate up much of the home territory but it was Joe Cokanasiga and Miles Reid who put a shift in at the breakdown and earned the ball back.
With Bath safely down in Quins’ half, it was Tom Dunn’s turn to drive through the back of the maul to try and touchdown but a Quins arm under the ball ruled the try out after a check from TMO Brian MacNeice.
Bath emptied their bench as the clock ticked into the 70th minute and big Will Spencer entered the pitch for his 50th cap.
After marching Harlequins up the field from a Redpath turnover, Bath gifted possession back to the visitors allowing another of their opportunities to go begging.
Making the most of a loose pass from Quins, Bath’s next chance came as Lawrence booted the ball downfield forcing Quins to kick the ball into touch to eliminate the immediate threat.
Driving the ball from the back of the maul, Bath replicated their earlier misfortune with look to the TMO to decide if the Blue, Black and White had scored their second. Not to be, Andrew Brace determined it to be another held up scenario and gave Quins the goal line drop out.
In what looked like another piece of final minute magic, Bath gathered momentum and found themselves with a two man advantage with just 60 seconds on the clock. Trying to hammer on the Quins’ try-line, referee Brace blew after Niall Annett got caught in the tackle and it was Quins who came away with the win.
Bath earned a losing bonus point from their efforts and will be looking to work on eradicating the unforced errors as they compete in the European Challenge Cup next week against Glasgow Warriors.
performance of the match