Maximum for Bath at Newcastle

Date published: April 10 2015

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Bath kept their playoff hopes alive with a bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons on Friday, triumphing 29-19 at Kingston Park.

With Sam Burgess making his first blindside flanker appearance in Union, Bath looked to make early inroads after the long trip to the top of the country. 

But it was the Falcons that began the scoring, Rory Clegg's penalty putting the hosts into an early lead from a full 40 yards. 

Bath wasted little time in their attempts to get over that early setback, forcing the Falcons into some fine defending metres from their own line, who eventually won the scrum. But after failing to send it downfield, Bath opened the try scoring through Ollie Devoto. 

The scrum was turned over by Bath, who released it from that pack quickly before George Ford's pass saw Devoto go through the posts. Ford converted the effort, as Bath set their intentions out within ten minutes. 

The visitors didn't have much longer to wait before celebrating again, thanks to the sprinting prowess of Semesa Rokoduguni.

Jonathan Joseph's fierce pass and quick hands found Rokoduguni, who burst clear of the Newcastle back line as Bath raced clear. The conversion didn't quite meet the posts, but a nine point gap early on was exactly what the visitors were looking for.

Rory Clegg cut the deficit in half after Bath were penalised for failing to roll away, sending a penalty in from in front of the posts 24 minutes in. 

Bath were left celebrating what they thought was a second try, with Rokoduguni the man who again crossed the line. But those celebrations were cut short thanks to the intervention of the TMO, who deemed a slight knock-on had occurred in the process, and Newcastle could breathe again. 

Newcastle had their first try of the evening though to relieve that Bath pressure that had begun to build up, Sinoti Sinoti evading a series of challenges and shrugging off defenders whilst just staying in play before going over, Clegg converting to put Newcastle into the slenderest of leads. 

But on the brink of the referees whistle, Bath snatched back their lead. Anthony Watson cut the defence in two, and went through the sticks allowing Ford the opportunity to convert, which he duly took for a 19-13 lead. 

Following on from that last gasp first-half try, Matt Banahan ensured his side wouldn't have long to wait before more celebrations. A run from Watson resulted in Banahan receiving the ball, and he ran from the midfield before crossing the line. Ford's conversion gave Bath real breathing space, with the lead up to 13. 

That was cut to ten points though thanks to Clegg, who took his points haul to 11 points for the night with another penalty. 

Bath faced trouble when reduced to 14 after Carl Fearns was issued with a yellow for entering the maul, as Newcastle threatened to turn the game on its head. 

Tom Catterick was able to kick through three more points for the hosts, as Newcastle found themselves just a converted try away from level terms. 

But a much needed Ford penalty reduced that threat, and gave Bath a comfortable gap heading into the closing stages, and they saw it through to keep the pressure on at the top of the Premiership.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Tries: Sinoti
Cons: Clegg
Pens: Clegg 3

For Bath:
Tries: Devoto, Rokoduguni, Watson, Banahan
Cons: Ford 3

Pens: Ford

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Chris Harris, 13 Adam Powell (c), 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Chris York, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Eric Fry, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Sean Robinson, 21 Sonatane Takalua, 22 Tom Catterick, 23 Gonzalo Tiesi

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Sam Burgess, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Paul James, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Alafoti Faosiliva, 22 Micky Young, 23 Tom Homer

Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Ashley Rowsen
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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