Slim win for Bath

Date published: October 17 2015

Last season's beaten Premiership finalists Bath clinched a narrow win over Exeter Chiefs thanks to George Ford's late penalty at the Recreation Ground.

In a game that was eagerly anticipated by all Premiership fans, the first half was as close as expected. 

The opening 40 minutes saw a try for either side, from Chiefs winger James Short and Bath Captain Stuart Hooper. 

Kickers Gareth Steenson and George Ford both slotted two penalties a piece, giving Rob Baxter's side an 11-10 lead at the break. 

Bath's half was made worse with the sin binning of Matt Banahan for a deliberate knock-on just before half-time. 

The second half saw Ford and Steenson continue their battle of the boot, with Steenson kicking two penalties and Ford replying with two of his own. 

Despite Bath replacement Sam Burgess seeing yellow for an illegal tackle , it was the home side who snatched the victory with a final 3 points from Ford. 

Exeter opened the scoring after a swift move through the hands saw Short hand off Ford and go over in the first minute. 

In an opening 20 minutes strewn with handling errors from both sides, a penalty a piece for Ford and Steenson were the only additions to the scoreboard. 

On 35 minutes, Bath scored their first try of the season through Club captain Hooper. 

A lovely break from England's Anthony Watson saw him pop the ball inside to Hooper, although there was a suggestion of a forward pass. As the clock hit 40 minutes, Bath's giant centre Banahan was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, with Steenson scoring the resulting penalty. 

After half time, Exeter failed to capitalise on their one man advantage, with Ford kicking the first points of the half on 47 minutes. 

Steenson kicked a penalty for the chiefs on 52 minutes before Ford added another three points for the home side two minutes later. 

The next action came on 66 minutes, where substitute Burgess was given a yellow card for not attempting to wrap in the tackle, with Steenson adding another three points from the subsequent penalty. 

Exeter failed to take advantage, and Ford clinched the victory with a final penalty on 78 minutes. 

Ford received the Man of the Match award for his performance with a perfect kicking display, picking up from where he left off last season.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries: Hooper
Cons: Ford
Pens: Ford 4
Yellow Card: Banahan, Burgess

For Exeter:
Tries: Short
Pens: Steenson 4

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Alafoti Faosiliva, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac 
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 David Wilson, 19 Sam Burgess, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Max Clark, 23 Jeff Williams

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Olly Woodburn

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Rowan Kitt