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Aviva Premiership: Bath win top-four battle with Harlequins
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Bath moved clear in third place in the Aviva Premiership table after securing a 14-3 victory over fellow top-four hopefuls Harlequins at the Recreation Ground.
The hosts, who are now six points above fourth-placed Quins, won the physical battle before killing off their opponents with a stunning try by centre Jonathan Joseph.
England full-back Mike Brown was left clutching thin air as the speedy Joseph ran round him to the line in the early stages of the second half.
Bath went into the contest seeking to extend their unbeaten record at home in the league to a full year and to post their 11th win on the bounce.
Fly-half George Ford opened the scoring with a 30-metre penalty in the opening minutes and was presented with an even easier chance to make it 6-0 shortly afterwards.
However, the visitors were soon piling on the pressure and centre Tim Molenaar surged into the Bath 22, only to spill the ball in Ford's last-ditch tackle.
Ford was forced to relieve the pressure with a series of kick but, when body-checked by George Robson, the young playmaker stepped up to the tee to put Bath 9-0 ahead on 25 minutes.
His opposite number Nick Evans finally put Quins on the board with a 30-metre kick in the 28th minute and Ford then missed a couple of chances from difficult angles shortly before half-time.
But Quins did not get off scot-free as Charlie Walker was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Anthony Watson, meaning the visitors started the second half a man short.
That still did not entirely explain how they allowed Joseph to pierce the defensive line so easily for his score on 46 minutes which Ford failed to convert.
As the game opened up going into the final quarter, Bath's defence had to be just as alert to the threat of the Quins' backs but territory, possession and the penalty count were swinging the way of the home side.
Skipper Chris Robshaw rallied his players into a compelling spell of high-tempo rugby as the game drifted into the last 10 minutes but the Bath back row was equal to the task.
Quins continued to come forward but saw their last chance go begging when Tom Guest was held up on the line from a catch-and-drive and Bath finished the job by marching back the visitors' scrum to force the penalty.
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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Saturday 28th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com