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Bath down local rivals
Bath 25-10 Bristol
Powergen Cup, Recreation Ground, Saturday October 1, KO 2.15pm
Bath outlasted local rivals Bristol 25-10 in the Powergen Cup at the Recreation Ground.
Bristol coach Richard Hill selected a largely second string side that kept in range for a shock victory until Welsh teenager Tom Cheeseman scored late on to seal the win for Bath.
The home side should have opened the scoring after two minutes when Olly Barkley knocked on when over the try-line.
Bristol defended doggedly but were helped by the ponderous nature of Bath's early forward effort.
The visitors' commitment in defence soon landed them in trouble with the referee and penalties began to flow Bath's way.
Barkley slotted a 25 metre effort to open the scoring after 22 minutes, but Danny Gray levelled things up for Bristol after Steve Borthwick infringed at the breakdown.
With Bristol skipper El-Abd sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement, Bath took advantage to score the opening try in first-half stoppage time.
David Bory came off his wing to create some space and release hooker Pieter Dixon with a run-in to the corner.
Barkley failed to add the extras, so Bath went to the interval with an 8-3 lead.
Bristol were rejuvenated by the break and were ahead within two minutes of the restart.
Mario Stanojevic was hauled down illegally and scrum-half Gregg Nicholls went over after taking a quick tap. Gray converted to give Bristol a 10-8 lead.
The shock of falling behind jolted Bath into action. The forwards asserted control allowing Barkley to collect four penalties as Bristol began to physically wilt.
The result was confirmed in the dying moments as Cheeseman went over in the corner to secure bragging rights for Bath.
Bath (8) 25
Tries: Dixon, Cheeseman
Pens: Barkley 5
Bristol (3) 10