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Aviva Premiership: Stephen Donald kicks Bath to victory over Harlequins
Stephen Donald kicked seven of eight penalty attempts as Bath beat Aviva Premiership champions and leaders Harlequins 21-18 at the Rec.
For the second successive week these two sides could not manage a try between them, but that will be of no concern whatsoever to Bath who move into the top six with this tense win, just five points behind Quins.
Bath just about deserved the victory for their passion and commitment, epitomised by their feverish defence in the closing moments, as they avenged last week's LV= Cup defeat to Quins.
Nick Evans edged Quins ahead after three minutes and the Kiwi fly-half went on to kick six of his seven penalty tries.
Evans and his fellow New Zealander Donald exchanged penalties throughout the first half, with Bath edging ahead 9-6 at the break thanks to two Donald kicks in the final four minutes.
Bath had earlier had the best chance of the half, Matt Bahanhan charging down a clearance kick inside the Quins 22 only to butcher an almost certain try as his poor pass was knocked on by Semesa Rokoduguni.
Donald stretched the lead to 12-6 just after the break before Karl Dixon broke all the way to the Bath line from halfway after a quick tap penalty, but again Evans had to settle for three points.
Guy Mercer's late hit on Evans gifted the Kiwi three more points to level it and the two kickers exchanged another couple of penalties before both sides went close.
Banahan was adjudged to have knocked on by the TMO as he placed the ball on the line at the back of a ruck, then Nick Easter charged down Donald's kick but was thwarted by the narrow in-goal area as he raced to follow up and touch down.
Two more kicks from Donald stretched the lead to 21-15 and although Evans' penalty after a collapsed scrum set up a frantic finale, the Bath defence held firm and, crucially, avoided yet another infringement.
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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