DEPARTING full-back Nick Abendanon’s name goes up in lights as he joins Bath’s ‘200 club’ at the Rec against Sale tonight (7.45pm).

The 27-year-old hits the double century landmark of appearances in the evening kick-off against the Sharks as his eight-year career with the club enters its home stretch.

The former England ace departs for a new challenge with French outfit Clermont-Auvergne in the summer.

Having been a loyal servant during the largely trophy-less years since his debut in the 2006-07 campaign, he can afford himself a wry smile as he considers Bath’s return to silverware contenders.

“You never think you will get to 200 games for the club you followed as a kid, but I’m very happy that it’s come along,’’ he said.

“There are some big names in that 200 club. I’ve got 30 family members coming for the game and I live on the hill above Bath and you see the lights at the Rec and know it will be a special occasion.’’

A career ambition saw Abendanon take the plunge with a move to Clermont and despite Bath’s rise to prominence, he is convinced he has made the right decision.

“It’s probably the hardest calls I have ever made,’’ he added.

“This team is going to continue to do amazingly well and to pull yourself away from that was pretty tough because I’ve been waiting for it to happen for five years.

“I’m happy I’ve made the decision. When it was announced I was leaving I was a bit apprehensive about what the supporters would say but people have come up to me and been very supportive.’’

Abendanon could still sign off as a winner, with Bath currently occupying an Aviva play-off spot, as well as in the last eight of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

“That’s the key,’’ he added. “We’re in a good position as we stand at the moment but Leicester have found a bit of form and Sale are playing great rugby. We have a bit of breathing space, but we would like to make that gap bigger.’’

  • BATH have teamed up with SOS Kit Aid to call on local schools and rugby clubs to donate as much kit as they can.

Kit Aid has donated kit to more than 26 countries and 168,800 disadvantaged children and all competing schools and clubs will have the chance to win Bath prizes.

Abendanon, who saw the work that KitAid does while touring with England in 2011, said: “As a club, we have supported Kit Aid for a long time now and I, personally, have always tried to do all I can to help Kit Aid because helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves to play sport is really important."

See or email Eugenia Afonso for details.