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|Home team||Away Team|
||31 - 16||
- Aviva Premiership
- 25th Sep 2010
- KO 14:15
- Ground: The Recreation Ground
- Att: 11,618
Plain Sale-ing for Bath
Williams touches down in 78th minute to secure bonus point
Ben Williams crashed over late on to earn Bath a four-try bonus point and ensure Sale's miserable record at the Recreation Ground continued.
Williams came off the bench to add the crucial score two minutes from time and complete Bath's 31-16 victory.
The home side's earlier tries had come from prop Duncan Bell, Shontayne Hape and Matt Carraro, with Olly Barkley contributing all four conversions and a penalty.
Third-placed Bath, smarting from the physical punishment dished out by Northampton last time out, persisted with Bell at tighthead after he came on as replacement at Franklin's Gardens. The only other change saw Michael Claassens recalled at scrum-half.
Tighthead Karena Wihongi returned to the Sale starting line-up along with scrum-half Dwayne Peel while Dave Seymour took over the captaincy from James Gaskell.
Bath immediately began to feel the weight and power of number eight Sisaro Koyamaibole and England prop Andrew Sheridan at close quarters, but when the ball was turned over Sale found themselves stretched by the home side's pace and invention.
When the Sharks did threaten the Bath line, left wing Tom Biggs broke spectacularly out of defence only to be denied a try by the covering Paul Williams, son of legendary All Black wing Bryan.
But the pressure was relentless and Bell crashed over from short range after 12 minutes. Barkley converted and quickly added a penalty to put the home side 10-0 ahead.
Sale lost fly-half Nick Macleod to injury but Williams stepped up to kick the resulting penalty and then was on target again from slightly longer range.
Back came Bath however as Hape cut back on Barkley's pop pass to run in from 30 metres, his centre partner adding the extra points.
It was breathtaking action, with few line-outs or scrums to give the big men a break, and Bath had to do their share of defending as Williams and Mark Cueto countered strongly from deep.
But that approach backfired when Cueto's pass was intercepted by Carraro on the stroke of half-time, leaving the Australian with an easy run to the line.
Barkley's conversion gave Bath a 24-6 half-time lead.
Sale reappeared with greater urgency and a replacement number eight in Kristian Ormsby. The New Zealander ran hard and straight to set up a promising position in the Bath 22 but the defence eventually earned a relieving penalty.
Soon it was Sale who came under the cosh again, suffering at the hands of the much maligned Bath scrummage, but Biggs and Hape failed to convert a chance in the left corner and the third quarter was a shapeless affair until Williams kicked his third penalty on 57 minutes.
Bath's ambition nearly proved their undoing when Biggs was tackled into touch on his 22 and Sale attacked strongly from the line-out, further helped by a penalty taken quickly by Peel. Ormsby carried the move on but Matty James could not hold the pass under the posts.
An attacking line-out offered further hope but Bath skipper Luke Watson scragged Peel and the ball was kicked clear.
An inch-perfect punt to the corner by Barkley in the opposite corner put Bath in just as dangerous a position and although Sale earned a scrum put-in, the home eight forced the turnover. Carraro was hauled down on the other side of the field as Sale defended desperately.
Carraro led a dazzling breakout supported by Watson and the chance appeared to go begging when Nick Abendanon spilled the ball.
But Sale were guilty of a forward pass and Bath took their chance from the scrum to put Ben Williams in at the corner, Barkley converting.
There was still time for Sisaro Lewaravu to grab a consolation score, converted by Paul Williams.
Sale now have just one win in nine Aviva Premiership trips to Bath.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com