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Aviva Premiership: Stephen Donald kicks Bath to victory over Harlequins
Stephen Donald kicked seven of eight penalty attempts as Bath beat Aviva Premiership champions and leaders Harlequins 21-18 at the Rec.
For the second successive week these two sides could not manage a try between them, but that will be of no concern whatsoever to Bath who move into the top six with this tense win, just five points behind Quins.
Bath just about deserved the victory for their passion and commitment, epitomised by their feverish defence in the closing moments, as they avenged last week's LV= Cup defeat to Quins.
Nick Evans edged Quins ahead after three minutes and the Kiwi fly-half went on to kick six of his seven penalty tries.
Evans and his fellow New Zealander Donald exchanged penalties throughout the first half, with Bath edging ahead 9-6 at the break thanks to two Donald kicks in the final four minutes.
Bath had earlier had the best chance of the half, Matt Bahanhan charging down a clearance kick inside the Quins 22 only to butcher an almost certain try as his poor pass was knocked on by Semesa Rokoduguni.
Donald stretched the lead to 12-6 just after the break before Karl Dixon broke all the way to the Bath line from halfway after a quick tap penalty, but again Evans had to settle for three points.
Guy Mercer's late hit on Evans gifted the Kiwi three more points to level it and the two kickers exchanged another couple of penalties before both sides went close.
Banahan was adjudged to have knocked on by the TMO as he placed the ball on the line at the back of a ruck, then Nick Easter charged down Donald's kick but was thwarted by the narrow in-goal area as he raced to follow up and touch down.
Two more kicks from Donald stretched the lead to 21-15 and although Evans' penalty after a collapsed scrum set up a frantic finale, the Bath defence held firm and, crucially, avoided yet another infringement.
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|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Northampton|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Leicester|
|Sunday 5th October|
|14:00||Sale vs Wasps|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Irish|
|15:15||Northampton vs Sale|
|Sunday 12th October|
|14:00||Wasps vs Bath|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Northampton vs Exeter|
|15:00||Leicester vs Saracens|
|15:00||Bath vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 16th November|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Bath 45 - 0 Leicester|
|Harlequins 26 - 23 Wasps|
|London Irish 32 - 36 Saracens|
|Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh|
|Friday 19th September|
|Gloucester 22 - 25 Exeter|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
|Wasps 20 - 16 Northampton|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Exeter 20 - 24 Leicester|
|Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 53 - 26 London Welsh|
|Friday 12th September|
|Harlequins 0 - 39 Saracens|
|Sunday 7th September|
|London Welsh 0 - 52 Exeter|
|Saturday 6th September|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Harlequins|
|Leicester 36 - 17 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath|
|Saracens 34 - 28 Wasps|
|Friday 5th September|
|Northampton 53 - 6 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com