Gloucester took the West Country bragging rights on Saturday as they beat Bath 14-11 at the Rec to keep alive their play-off hopes.
Gloucester claimed the West Country bragging rights on Saturday after they defeated Bath 14-11 at the Recreation Ground.
The tempo was set as early as the second minute when a fight broke out off the ball, resulting in Jim Hamilton and Ryan Caldwell being sent to the bin. More could have joined them with almost every player involved.
When the game resumed, both sides were guilty of some aimless kicking before Lee Mears of all people created the opening try of the game after ten minutes with a delicate chip through for Tom Biggs to race onto.
It didn't take too long for Gloucester to respond though as Freddie Burns made an incisive break before feeding his centres, who rampaged through the Bath defence. After they came up just short of the try-line, James Simpson-Daniel was on hand to deliver a floated wide pass to prop Nick Wood, who slid in at the corner.
The Cherry and Whites looked the better side for the remainder of the first half but Burns missed a simple penalty from in front of the posts and Akapusi Qera spilled the ball as he stretched for the line.
Burns did hit the target with two further penalties though to give his team an 11-5 lead at the break.
The home team came out for the second half with a renewed vigour and first Olly Barkley and then Tom Heathcote took advantage of good work by the Bath pack to record three points each and level the score at 11-11.
Gloucester might have been fearing the worst given their travails away from Kingsholm over the past year but they hit back with quarter of an hour remaining. 19-year-old Ryan Mills, on as a replacement for Freddie Burns, held his nerve to convert a penalty and restore his side's lead.
Both teams tired in the latter stages as the muddy conditions took their toll on the players' energy levels but the visitors repelled Bath's advances and held on to emerge victorious.
Pen: Barkley, Heathcote
Pen: Burns 2, Mills
Bath: 15 Sam Vesty, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Ben Skirving, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Guy Mercer, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Matt Carraro, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Gloucester: 15 Jonny May, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Matt Cox 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Peter Buxton (c), 5 Alex Brown, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Peter Buxton, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Tom Voyce
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Geoff Warren