A determined display from Bath Rugby secured an important four points tonight with a 12-3 victory over Sale Sharks, taking them back up to second in the Aviva Premiership table overnight.
Bath's first points came from the boot of fullback Tom Homer, who struck the ball cleanly between the uprights on 16 minutes. The home side had worked patiently through a number of phases and eventually forced the infringement from the visitors. 3-0.
Danny Cipriani had a chance to level the scores just under 10 minutes later, but a slip on his run-up saw the fly-half skew the kick.
The home pack were enjoying large spells of dominance at the set-piece, and after Mike Haley dropped the re-start, another scrum yielded another penalty for Bath. Homer slotted the three points, doubling the lead after half an hour.
Cipriani did pull three points back for the visitors shortly after when Bath were pinged for a high tackle. In the battle of the kickers Homer had the chance to extend the lead just before half-time, but he couldn't quite find the angle from out wide.
Half-time score: Bath Rugby 6 – Sale Sharks 3.
With two stubborn defences determined to keep their opposition from crossing the whitewash, a tense forty minutes was in store for the capacity crowd at the Recreation Ground.
Sale came out firing from the break, but Bath held firm. With a penalty already awarded, tighthead prop Vadim Cobilas attempted to get his name on the scoresheet with an ambitious drop goal attempt that instead dribbled along the floor. Cipriani opted for the corner over the easy three points, and from the resulting lineout the home side were able to clear their lines.
A powerful run from Semesa Rokoduguni took play into the Sale 22, and after a series of threatening phases, Sale again infringed. Homer added the three points to provide Bath with a six point cushion.
A strong wind was making conditions difficult for the kickers, but Homer's confidence was not to be dented and he sent the ball sailing through the posts with 15 minutes still to play to extend the home side's lead further.
The visitors tried to find a way to break through Bath's dominant defence but were halted at every turn. Ollie Devoto and Homer continuously pinned them back into their own half and the forwards to maintained their upper hand at the set piece, until it was left to replacement Micky Young to send the ball into touch to end the game.
Final score: Bath Rugby 12 – Sale Sharks 3.