Bath 22-6 Bristol: Bath grind out derby win at the Rec
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/10/16 11:30pm
Rhys Priestland kicked 17 points as Bath ground out a 22-6 win over Bristol in the Challenge Cup on Thursday night.
It was a tight affair throughout the first half, with Priestland landing four penalties to hand his side a 12-3 half-time lead, with one kick in reply from Bristol's Billy Searle.
Priestland slotted another penalty after the break, and replacement fly-half Shane Geraghty added his side's second to make it 15-6, which is how it almost finished before an opportunist try from Matt Banahan in the 80th minute was converted by Priestland for a more comfortable scoreline.
Priestland slotted the first of his penalties in the eighth minute, and Searle was offered an opportunity to level things up shortly thereafter, but the Bristol No 10 sent the effort left of the posts. Priestland added another when the referee spotted the visitors holding onto the ball on the ground.
Searle then succeeded with his second effort to bring his side to within three points on the half-hour mark, but two further penalties from Wales international Priestland gave Bath a 12-3 advantage at the half-time whistle.
Geraghty's three-pointer at the end of the third quarter kept the game tight, but Priestland's fifth penalty was shortly followed by a yellow card to Bristol centre Jack Tovey in the 68th minute for repeated team infringements.
Bristol lost another man to the bin, this time Geraghty for a reckless tackle on Aled Brew, but still Bath could not score.
The defence of the visitors held firm until, with a minute remaining and in search of a losing bonus point, Bristol were in possession deep in the opposition half when Tovey knocked on in the midfield. The ball was scooped up by the home side and shipped to Banahan who raced through untouched to bring down the curtain on the match following Priestland's kick.
La Rochelle 51-24 Bayonne
La Rochelle made it back-to-back wins in Pool 1 with a convincing 51-24 success at home to fellow French side Bayonne.
Charles Bouldoire scored two of the hosts' eight tries with the others coming from Romain Sazy, Jason Eaton, Steeve Barry, Arthur Retiere, Levani Botia and Leandro Cedaro.
Fly-half Brock James added 11 points with the boot before fellow Australian Zack Holmes was sin-binned in the closing stages.
Tries from Martin Laveau and Pablo Huete, plus a late penalty try, put Bayonne on the scoresheet but they failed to find a fourth score to earn a bonus point and were well beaten.
Stade Francais 27-0 Timisoara Saracens
In the night's other match, Stade Francais comfortably beat Romanian side Timisoara Saracens 27-0 in Pool 5.
Jules Plisson went over in the opening minutes for the French hosts before further tries from Faraj Fartass and Djibril Camara and seven points from the boot of South African Morne Steyn gave them a 22-0 lead at the break.
Sylvain Nicolas touched down the fourth try of the night in the second half to earn the home side a bonus point in their first win of the competition.