Banahan's Christmas cracker

Alex Crockett's kick and Matt Banahan's power and pace combined on Saturday afternoon to give Bath a last gasp 24-20 victory and give the blue, black and whites an excellent start to the Christmas and New Year period.

Sale struck first. Welsh scrum-half Dyane Peel took a quick tap penalty , found Hodgson before the fly-half released Luke McAlister who ignored a two man overlap next to him and backed himself to score. Charlie Hodgson missed the penalty. 0-5.

In the 15th minute Sale lock Sebastien Chabal was sin-binned for an altercation with Bath scrum half Michael Claassens. From the resulting penalty, Butch James kicked to the corner and from the following line-out a rolling maul from Bath saw Daniel Browne score. A Butch James conversion made it 7-5.

With Bath putting pressure on Sale, Stewart Turner was sin-binned for killing the ball and with Sale down to 13 men; James hit the resulting penalty to make it 10-5.

It was then Bath's turn to lose a player with Michael Lipman yellow carded for a late tackle.

Into first half injury time, Sale fullback Mark Cueto scored his first try of the match ignoring an overlap to score. McAlister's conversion took Sale into the lead before James hit a penalty on the stroke of half-time to put Bath back on top. 13-12.

In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, McAlister and James traded penalties before both then missing decent chances at goal. 16-15.

Sale then took the intiative. In the 67th minute with the Sharks 20 metres out from the Bath line, Hodgson popped the ball to Cueto who then brushed off the tackles of Browne and Abendanon to dance his way to his second try of the match. McAlister was unable to convert but Sale regained the lead. 16-20.

James hit a penalty in the 72nd minute to take Bath within one point of Sale. With the game going from end to end now, the match was set for a dramatic ending.

In the 79th minute and with Bath on the attack, Alex Crockett chipped the ball ahead and Matt Banahan took the ball in the air before brushing off Cueto to score. James was unable to convert, but Bath and The Rec were already celebrating victory.

New to Bath Rugby?

Join Bath Rugby for:

  • Epic, elite entertainment
  • Passionate, family-friendly atmosphere
  • Email Previews & Post-match reports

Find out more or enter your email address to get started.