It was back to Zurich Premiership business at the Rec as an injury-hit Bath Rugby side saw off a spirited Worcester outfit 18-10 at the Rec.
Chris Malone scored all eighteen of the home side's points with five penalties and a long-range drop goal in a superb kicking performance. Importantly with Gloucester losing the win takes Bath Rugby three points clear of their West Country rivals.
The past couple of weeks have not been easy for a club suffering badly to make up playing numbers. Already disrupted by a plethora of injuries and international call-ups, Head Coach John Connolly lost Andy Higgins to a hamstring injury in the week, before Joe Maddock was forced to withdraw on the eve of the game with a similar injury.
A call was quickly put into the RFU and it was agreed that Ryan Davis would be able to start for Bath less than twenty four hours after playing a full eighty minutes and captaining England Under 21s to victory over their Italian counterparts.
After a period of sustained pressure during which Chris Malone missed with a penalty and a drop goal attempt, the home side opened the scoring through the Australian fly half's right boot when Worcester were penalised for a high tackle on Tom Cheeseman.
Worcester, with a good pack and a strong lineout, should have got themselves back into the game against a depleted Bath Rugby eight, but ill discipline cost them. Thinus Delport was binned after just four minutes and Chris Horsman after eighteen as Worcester gave away countless penalties and Bath capitalised by stretching the lead through the boot of Malone midway through the half.
Worcester's growing ascendancy in the scrums earned them three points in the dying moments of the half when Tommy Hayes struck a penalty from inside the twenty-two after Bath were penalised for collapsing. The scores should have been level at the interval, but after another messy scrum Hayes missed another three point opportunity.
The second half started with Worcester camped inside the Bath Rugby twenty-two and after a series of scrums where the home side were penalised three times the visitors were awarded a penalty try by referee David Rose. Hayes added the extras to give Worcester the lead.
The scored stirred Bath Rugby into life and as the game began to open up, the home side played with more width. Malone added a penalty in the fifty-eighth minute to reduce the arrears to just a single point and Bath pushed forward.
Malone missed a fifty metre penalty effort, but Bath's forwards were beginning to get back into the game. James Scaysbrook's strong run resulted in another penalty chance for Malone who duly converted to give Bath the lead.
The final ten minutes were tense and although Bath worked their way inside the Worcester twenty-two chances were missed until Chris Malone landed a long-range drop goal on eighty minutes.
Worcester refused to lie down and deep in injury time they had a chance with a five metre scrum, but a good chance was blown when Thinus Delport was penalised for crossing. Bath killed off the game with another Malone penalty and the home side held on to win.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Perry, 14 Andy Williams, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Ryan Davis, 11 Steve Booth, 10 Chris Malone (5p, 1dg), 9 Nick Walshe (Wood), 1 David Flatman (Perrett), 2 Jonathan Humphreys (capt) (Mears), 3 Chris Loader (Barnes), 4 James Hudson, 5 Rob Fidler, 6 Geraint Lewis (Delve), 7 James Scaysbrook, 8 Zak Feaunati
Reps: 16 Lee Mears, 17 David Barnes, 18 Gareth Delve, 19 Dan Smith, 20 Ramiro Pez, 21 Martyn Wood, 22 Hugh Perrett.
Worcester Warriors: 15.Delport, 14.Pieters, 13.Rasmussen, 12.Lombard, 11.Hinshelwood, 10.Hayes, 9.Powell, 8.MacLeod -Henderson, 7.Sanderson (c), 6.Hickey
5.Gillies, 4.Collier, 3.Horsman, 2.Van Niekerk, 1.Windo
Reps: 16.Fortey, 17.Murphy, 18.Daly, 19.Vaili, 20.Cole, 21.Trueman, 22.O'Leary