Bath Rugby continued their great run of form against the Exeter Chiefs with a 23-15 win.
The Blue, Black and White opened the scoring after just three minutes with a well worked try from Ben Williams. His tackle earlier in play led to Nick Abendanon getting the ball who beat four of the Exeter defence before offloading to Williams who then beat some of the Chiefs himself to crash over, with Stephen Donald scoring the kick making it 7-0. What a start!
Gareth Steenson was unable to get the Chiefs on the board by missing three consecutive kicks. Bath used this to keep momentum in their play and eventually their pressure came to flourish after 16 minutes. Abendanon was again in on the act, this time giving the ball to Francois Louw who crashed his way through the Exeter defence giving an opportunity for Kyle Eastmond to score. Donald failed to convert making the score 16-0.
Exeter did come back with a try from prop Brett Sturgess who was able to score in the corner after Baths' defence got stretched out of position. Towards the end of first half, Bath put Exeter under huge amounts of pressure leading to a penalty being slotted expertly between the posts by Donald making the half-time score 15-5.
The second half began with a solid start by Exeter when Gareth Steenson was able to kick a penalty clawing them back to within seven. Exeter continued to pile on the pressure but not score many points from it. This good defensive pressure from Bath resulted in a turnover and quick hands to Louw who barged his way through the Exeter defence to score, making the score 20-8.
With a quarter of the game to go Exeter really turned up the heat on the Bath defence, so much so that Dan Hipkiss was sent to the sin-bin for disrupting the play. Exeter used the man advantage to completely dominate with possession. Finally Ignacio Mieres was able to find a gap in the Bath defence and squeeze through to score, converting his own try to make the score 20-15.
With just five minutes left of his sin-bin to go Hipkiss jumped out of his seat and knocked the live ball away meaning Exeter couldn't take a quick line-out this resulted in Wayne Barnes giving him a second yellow and sending him for an early shower. Baths' defence held out firm and with just two minutes left, Donald slotted a tricky penalty making the score 23-15 meaning Exeter would have to score twice! Both sides looked for the bonus point but after six minutes of overtime the ball went dead and finally the game was over!
Final score – Bath Rugby 23 – Exeter Chiefs 15