Bath 31-10 Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership
Barkley brings curtain down on Bath career
ESPN Staff
September 29, 2012
Bath's Olly Barkley is showered by his team-mates on his final appearance for the club, Bath v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, The Rec, Bath, England, September 29, 2012.
Olly Barkley is showered by his Bath team-mates following his final appearance for the club © Getty Images
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Olly Barkley insisted the time is right to embrace a new challenge having steered Bath to a 31-10 victory over Sale Sharks in his final appearance for the Aviva Premiership club.

Barkley, who will now join Top 14 side Racing Metro having agreed a shock move last week, kicked 16 points to heap woe on the visitors and despite significance of the occasion, the 30-year-old was admant that it was business as usual at The Rec.

"I am just happy having won four points today," he said. "The last thing I wanted today was an unhappy changing room after losing three games on the bounce. That was my main priority.

"Walking across the pitch after the game, the realisation that I won't be doing it again in a Bath jersey is quite sad. But I've had a fantastic time here, and it is time to move on to a new challenge. I will leave this place with a heavy heart, but also with a happy one.

"I have watched the Top 14 quite a bit. It is a league that I have admired, and I am looking forward to going there."

Barkley's departure brings an end to a 12-year association with Bath where he has spent the vast majority of his professional career that has also included 23 caps for England. Asked whether he felt unfulfilled with his international tally, he added: "The bottom line is that I did not play well enough when I had the opportunity.

"Consistency at international level is key, especially in a playmaking role, and I didn't have that. But I enjoyed my time playing for England, and I will look back with far more happy memories than regrets."

Bath head coach Gary Gold was happy with the win that was secured thanks to scores from David Wilson, Ben Skirving and a penalty try but he still found fault with his side. "I am very satisfied with the performance from a defensive perspective, but we need to learn to kill off teams. We let them back into the game at 19-10," Gold said.

"We can still work really hard on our attack. We have an exciting back-three, and we need to get them into the game more often. Immediately, the message after the game today was that on Monday we focus on Kingsholm and Gloucester next weekend. It is not going to get any easier. At 19-3 up, we need to go for the jugular and put teams to bed."

Sale struggled to shake off their early-season woe but director of rugby Bryan Redpath saw improvement. "At 19-10 down we had a couple of opportunities that we didn't take, but the scoreline was not a true reflection today. It was more encouraging, but we were on the wrong end of some tough decisions.

"We have just got to keep beating away at the drum and work hard to get a better performance. The players' attitude today was great."

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