Butch boosts Bath back to victory

After their defeat at the Rec, it is little surprise that Sale Sharks were aiming to wreak revenge for their loss and try and settle the score. With Bath Rugby fielding a different team to the squad that fans would be familiar with, it was an uncharacteristic, yet determined, battle for Bath which left them going home with a loss of 25 - 10.
The game opened with Sale gaining instant possession and after six minutes, had pushed Bath to within metres of their try line. With pressure on the Sharks to score, fly-half Hodgson chose to award the team with three points, over five for a try, planting a drop goal between the posts.

Minutes later, Sale Hooker Scott Lawson made his way through the Bath defence and ran into Bath's territory, but he failed to ground the ball for a try due to a forward pass and a scrum ensued instead.

After 12 minutes, Chabal went on the rampage. Having returned fresh from the World Cup to play his first game for Sale this season he attempted a half-break that was rapidly followed by a further Hodgson penalty and then, again, at 15 minutes, giving the Sharks a 9-point lead.

Bath took the chance to put some points of their own onto the scoreboard five minutes later when Sale were caught offside following some quick passing between Crockett, Stephenson and Nick Walshe, who started in place of Michael Claassens.

Shaun Berne, back starting at fly-half, intercepted a pass by Sharks and ran it into their 22. With the pressure mounting on Sale to defend and Bath to score, Berne booted the ball for a drop goal, but unfortunately the ball tipped just wide of the posts.

Club captain, Steve Borthwick, enforcing his presence on the pitch, passed out to Martin Purdy who then found Flatman and moving out to the wing for Nick Abendanon to rush the ball to within spitting distance of the scoring line, but with inches to go, Sale managed to clear. The clearance kick was caught by the wing, having come on as a replacement for Ian Davey, and who had run down the pitch and passed to Cheeseman who went for a drop goal. No points were scored.

Just before the half-time whistle the Sharks had managed to rack up a late burst of scores with Hodgson, in finer form than at his visit to the Rec, planted another penalty that was coupled with a try from Chris Bell and a conversion. This last minute advantage turned the tide of the game, as Bath left the pitch 16 points behind.

Bath came back onto the field with a renewed vigour, displaying character and resistance, but were unable to claw back to victory over the hosting team as Hodgson grasped yet another chance to knock up the numbers on the scoreboard with his fourth penalty kick.

Bath responded positively to the 19-point lead, as, out of the blue, prop Lorne Ward, making his first starting debut, launched over the line for his first try since leaving Harlequins last summer.

With Hodgson's fifth penalty haunting them, Bath needed three scores to rescue the game and when Sales' Julien Laharaggue made a break midfield with a chip and chase, it was the Guinness Premiership's Player of the month, Shaun Berne, who made the preventative save, ensuring that when the full-time whistle was finally blown the score was left at 25 -10 to Sale.


15. Michael Stephenson 14. Matt Banahan (J. Cuthbert)13. Alex Crockett 12. Tom Cheeseman 11. Ian Davey (N. Abendanon, 27)10. Shaun Berne 9. Nick Walshe (M. Baxter) 1. David Flatman (L. Ovens) 2. Rob Hawkins (L Mears, 59) 3. Lorne Ward 4. Steve Borthwick (c) 5. Martin Purdy (A. Beattie, 63) 6. Jonny Faamatuainu 7. James Scaysbrook 8. Zak Feaunati (C. Goodman)

16. Lee Mears 17. Laurence Ovens 18. Andy Beattie 19. Chris Goodman 20. Mike Baxter 21. Jack Cuthbert 22. Nick Abendanon


15. Ben Foden 14. Julien Laharrague 13. Chris Mayor 12. Chris Bell (R. Keil) 11. Steve Hanley 10. Charlie Hodgson (S. Martens) 9. Richard Wigglesworth 1. Andrew Sheridan 2. Scott Lawson (S. Bruno, 59) 3. Stuart Turner (B. Bourrust, 59) 4. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe (c) 5. Chris Day 6. JM Fernandez Lobbe 7. Michael Hills (W. Cliff) 8. Sebastien Chabal (D Tait, 27)


16. Sebastien Bruno 17. Benoit Bourrust 18. Sean Cox 19. David Tait 20. Sililo Martens 21. Will Cliff 22. Rudi Keil

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