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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
|Saturday 6th September|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Friday 17th October|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Castres|
|Sunday 26th October|
|17:15||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 1st November|
|15:00||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 8th November|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 15th November|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Sale|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com