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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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|Saturday 20th December|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 27th December|
|16:30||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 10th January|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 17th January|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|TBC||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|Saturday 24th January|
|TBC||Castres vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 31st January|
|14:40||Harlequins vs Bath|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 21st February|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|Saturday 28th February|
|15:00||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 13th December|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Leinster 14 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th December|
|Harlequins 24 - 18 Leinster|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Friday 21st November|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Friday 7th November|
|Harlequins 31 - 21 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Sunday 2nd November|
|Saracens 25 - 20 Harlequins|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com