Bath edge Bristol to go top

Date published: November 18 2016

Bath moved top of the Premiership standings on Friday as they saw off the challenge of basement side Bristol to win 16-9 at the Rec.

Signs were promising for Mark Tainton's side in the opening exchanges as his men showed some good attacking intent. However, Bath scored the only try of the match, Jack Wilson combining with Matt Banahan to cross.

The second-half was a feisty but low-scoring affair as both sides struggled to impose themselves in freezing conditions.

Bristol's Jason Woodward was yellow-carded on the hour mark to aid the hosts' journey to victory.

It may not have been a thrilling West-Country derby for the fans but Todd Blackadder will be happy with a victory that sees them rise to the top of the Premiership table, albeit until Saracens and Wasps play tomorrow.

Bristol dominated possession in the opening exchanges but were unable to take advantage. Bath drew first blood with a penalty kick from Tom Homer in the 18th minute to score the first points of the match.

Bristol responded just two minutes later with a penalty of their own. Billy Searle kicking the points to restore parity to the scoresheet.

The hosts scored the first try of the match in the 26th minute. Banahan powered through the Bristol defence before playing in Wilson to score an easy try. Homer added the extras to establish a 10-3 lead.

Searle cut the deficit with a well-struck penalty kick in the 34th minute. Four minutes later, Homer notched another successful kick for Blackadder's side to make the score 13-6.

20-year-old debutant Searle added his third penalty on the stroke of half-time to send his side into the break with a four-point deficit.

With 50 minutes on the clock, Homer slotted home a penalty from 32 metres to take his side's advantage to seven points.

A late surge looked promising but failed to yield any score as Bath secured a hard-fought 16-9 win.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Try: Wilson
Con: Homer
Pen: Homer 3

For Bristol:
Pens: Searle 3

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Darren Atkins, 13 Max Clark, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Jack Wilson, 10 Rhys Priestland (cc), 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Matt Garvey (cc), 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Will Homer, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Ben Tapuai

Bristol: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Jason Woodward, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Jack Tovey, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 James Phillips, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Jack Wallace

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Philip Watters, Roger Baileff
TMO: Rowan Kitt