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Aviva Premiership: Bath beat Gloucester in ill-tempered affair
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Bath consolidated their position in the Aviva Premiership top four after clinching a dramatic 18-17 victory over West Country rivals Gloucester at Kingsholm.
The home side finished the match with just 11 men on the pitch after having Sila Puafisi and Tavis Knoyle sent off and Mike Tindall and Huia Edmonds sent to the sin bin.
Bath, who themselves had three players yellow-carded, made the numerical advantage count with a penalty try in the 79th minute, George Ford's conversion giving them a first league win at Kingsholm since 2006.
Henry Trinder had earlier grabbed a late try for Gloucester to add to Billy Twelvetrees' four penalties, while Bath's scoring prior to the incident-packed finale came courtesy of a Stuart Hooper try and two Ford kicks.
Bath forwards Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey and Dave Attwood were all shown yellow cards, meaning the visitors played 30 minutes of the game a man down, while uncontested scrums were needed shortly after Puafisi departed.
The Knoyle incident, in which he threw punches at Bath No 8 Leroy Houston, provided a spiteful end to a contest which saw Bath go five points clear of fifth-placed Harlequins.
Gloucester took the lead when Twelvetrees sent over an early penalty but Bath drew level through a 12th-minute Ford kick following a spell of scrum dominance.
The visitors continued to press following a Matt Banahan kick deep into Gloucester's 22, yet wing Horacio Agulla was denied a try when referee Tim Wigglesworth ruled midfield obstruction.
That was the cue for Gloucester to regroup and they responded impressively through two more Twelvetrees penalties during a three-minute spell that also saw Fearns sin-binned following a technical infringement.
Bath only had themselves to blame as Wigglesworth punished their poor discipline, but Ford's second penalty reduced the gap to 9-6 as half-time approached.
The optimism did not last long, though, as Fearns' fellow flanker Garvey was yellow-carded just before the break for a high tackle on Gareth Evans.
Evans was forced off injured as a result of the challenge, and Morgan entered the action with Gloucester three points clear halfway through a typically feisty derby.
Matters deteriorated early in the second period for Gloucester when Puafisi received his marching orders just eight minutes after coming off the bench for a dangerous high tackle on Bath full-back Nick Abendanon.
Abendanon was able to continue after treatment, but Bath then wiped out Gloucester's advantage when Hooper was driven over from a lineout to claim the first try of the match.
Ford missed the conversion and Bath could not make the game safe, their trio of yellow cards being completed when Attwood was sin-binned for not rolling away after a tackle.
Neither side was able to build any momentum, yet Gloucester had Twelvetrees' goalkicking to fall back on, and his fourth successful penalty edged the home team 12-11 in front before the frenzied finish.
First Trinder went over to score what seemed to be the decisive try but the conversion was missed and Bath subsequently had Tindall and Edmonds sin-binned.
Wigglesworth then awarded a penalty try as Bath mauled towards their opponents' line and, after Knoyle was red-carded, Ford slotted over the conversion to see the visitors home.
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|Friday 2nd January|
|19:45||Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|16:30||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Bath vs Wasps|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Exeter|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|15:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|Friday 20th February|
|20:00||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|15:00||Bath vs Northampton|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com