Home team Away Team

Bristol


  • Penalty goals: Barnes (3),
9 - 19

Bath

  • Higgins,
    Penalty goals: Barkley (4),
    Conversions: Barkley,

Higgins keeps Bath on track

Visitors edge out Bristol in west country derby

Last updated: 2nd March 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Higgins keeps Bath on track

Higgins: Decisive score

Related links

Teams

Players

Also see

Bath completed a league double over west country rivals Bristol with a 19-9 win that keeps them hot on the heels of Gloucester at the top of the Guinness Premiership table.

Stephen Meehan's men were pushed all the way as they claimed their first win on Bristolian soil for almost a decade - with a try from a familiar face ensuring bragging rights went to the visitors.

Andrew Higgins scored the decisive try against his former club as Bath claimed the two points which take them within a point of second-placed Leicester and only three points off leaders Gloucester.

A tight and tense affair at Ashton Gate was dominated by the kicking of Olly Barkley and Ed Barnes.

Barkley struck four penalties to Barnes' three, with the England international putting the nail in the Bristol coffin by converting Higgins' late score.

After a cagey opening Barkley and Barnes exchanged two penalties each as the teams remained deadlocked at 6-6 after 20 minutes.

Forward pass

The visitors received an injury blow mid-way through the first half when prop David Barnes was replaced by Duncan Bell after suffering an impact injury.

As the half progressed Bath began to dominate possession and territory and were unfortunate not to score as a well-worked move eventually saw Matt Stevens go over - however it was disallowed for a forward pass.

Further breaks from Andrew Banahan and Joe Maddock saw the visitors gain good ground, but they were unable to produce the killer pass.

Michael Lipman was forced off the field in what could be bad news for England - the number eight was replaced by Chris Goodman in an action-packed couple of minutes prior to the interval.

Bristol's reward for their solid defence was another penalty on the stroke of half-time. Barnes made it three out of three with a fantastic long-range strike to give the hosts a 9-6 lead at the interval.

As the teams returned to the field so did the errors and penalties. Barkley restored parity on 48 minutes with an emphatically struck kick through the middle of the posts.

Alex Crockett received a yellow card on 55 minutes for deliberate obstruction, and it looked as though that may have been the turning point with neither side able to take a stranglehold of proceedings.

Held firm

From the resulting penalty - captain Matt Salter turned down what would have been another three points in the hope of capitalising on their one-man advantage.

Instead the Bristol skipper went for the catch and drive, but Bath held firm and the gamble did not pay off.

The decision came back to haunt Richard Hill's side as, with only a minute left to play, Bath sealed the tie.

After Barkley had put Bath ahead with his fourth penalty of the afternoon, the visitors registered the only try of the day to ensure their title challenge stayed on track.

Higgins, who had replaced the injured Banahan mid-way through the second-half made a stunning 40-yard break before eventually being thwarted.

From the resulting phase the ex-Bristol boy made the overlap and went over in the corner to take the score to 17-9.

Barkley scored his 14th point of the match with the conversion, and no sooner had Bristol re-started the game, then the final whistle was blown to confirm a hard-fought and deserved win for the visitors.

Sky Bet Odds:

Click Here for Your Free Bet
Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 14th November
Aviva Premiership
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins
Saturday 29th November
15:00Leicester vs Wasps
16:30Exeter vs Saracens
Sunday 30th November
13:00London Irish vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Northampton
15:15Newcastle vs Sale
Saturday 20th December
14:00Sale vs Exeter
15:00Gloucester vs Bath
15:00Northampton vs Leicester
15:00Saracens vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Newcastle
Sunday 21st December
14:00Wasps vs London Irish
Friday 26th December
15:00London Irish vs London Welsh

Experts & Blogs

Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com