Bath edge out Sale Sharks

Date published: March 6 2015

Bath picked up a hard-fought 12-3 victory over play-off rivals Sale at the Recreation Ground on Friday, a win that takes them second in the table.

It was far from a classic, but it was a satisfying night for the home side. 

Both teams were smarting from disappointing defeats in the last round of fixtures, with Bath without a win in three Premiership games. 

It was the home side who made all the running early on, though they found it difficult to break down a stubborn Sale defence. 

The Sharks did eventually concede a penalty, with Tom Homer finding his range to open the scores after 15 minutes. 

The home side were comfortably controlling possession, but couldn't find a way past a dogged Sale line. Steve Diamond's men even got a chance to level the scores, with a penalty coming after a rare foray into Bath territory. Surprisingly, Danny Cipriani slipped as he went for goal, missing his kick and putting the pressure back on his side. 

Sale were punished, as they gave away another penalty, meaning they trailed 6-0 on the half hour mark. 

Considering how much they were on the back foot, Sale would have been happy to go in just three points behind at half time, with Cipriani finding his feet to kick his side back into the game. 

The second-half was similar to the first, with Sale continuing to keep Bath away from the try line despite continued pressure. 

Homer's 55th minute penalty put them six ahead, but there was a real sense that they ought to have been ahead by more. 

The game moved on, but there was still no sniff of a try. Homer was on target though, with his fourth penalty meaning Sale were more than a converted try behind. 

They were also two points away from getting a losing bonus point, which didn't look hugely likely as the game rumbled on. Those two points never came, as Sale's winless run stretched to two. 

Bath will have more convincing wins as they hunt a top four spot, but Mike Ford will have been please with his sides continued dominance in a scrappy game.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Pen: Homer 4

For Sale:
Pen: Cipriani

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Sam Burgess, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Alafoti Faosiliva, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Micky Young, 22 Matt Banahan, 23 Luke Arscott.

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Magnus Lund, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Ross Harrison, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Brady.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small, Roger Baileff
TMO: Sean Davey