Bath Rugby suffered a 40-20 defeat to Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol Bears in Round 18.
Tries for Anthony Watson and Rhys Priestland alongside a Ben Spencer penalty gave the hosts a positive advantage in the first half but the visitors replied befoe the break through Nathan Hughes.
A penalty try and Max Malins turned the scoreline on its head and Charles Piutau extended the Bears’ lead ahead of Watson’s second of the match.
Tom Dunn was red carded late on and Bristol made the extra man count with Ben Earl and Malins crossing to seal the win.
Bristol attacked from the kick-off with Kyle Sinckler haring down the middle of the pitch but Bath remained patient in their pursuit to win the ball back and cleared their lines following a breakdown infringement.
Malins had a score ruled out after a forward pass before pressure turned into points for Bath. Max Clark forced his opposite number into a handling error and Cam Redpath kicked on for Watson who raced in to dot down.
Second row Josh McNally relentless approach in attack led to a second of the afternoon. In the face of the Bristol backline, a ball out the back was picked off by the returning Priestland and the Welshman cantered in unopposed.
Spencer kept the scoreboard ticking over but Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy spotted space on the wing and kicked for Hughes to go over prior to the interval.
Bristol’s scrum powered them on to a penalty try and whilst loosehead prop Juan Schoeman was in the sin bin, the away side exploited space out wide with Malins sliding home. Full-back Piutau followed up moments later on an arcing outside line.
A moment of brilliance saw Watson grab his brace. Priestland kicked high to the corner and the British & Irish Lion leaped superbly to gather and score Bath’s third.
Any hopes of a comeback were unfortunately thwarted when Bath were reduced to 14 – hooker Dunn saw red for a high shot.
Bristol capitalised on their numerical gain to confirm the result. First, Earl burrowed home and then his fellow Saracens loanee Malins added another to his tally.
15. Tom de Glanville, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Max Clark, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Will Muir, 10. Orlando Bailey, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Juan Schoeman, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally ©, 5. Elliott Stooke 6. Josh Bayliss, 7. Miles Reid, 8. Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: 16. Jacques du Toit, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Charlie Ewels, 20. Tom Ellis, 21. Will Chudley, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Alex Gray
15. Charles Piutau, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Max Malins, 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Bryan Byrne, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua ©, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. John Afoa, 19. Ed Holmes, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Tom Kessell, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Alapati Leiua
8 May 2021
Referee: Luke Pearce
Half Time score: 15-7
- Tries: Watson (11, 66), Priestland (13)
- Conversions: Spencer (13)
- Penalties: Spencer (29)
- Tries: Hughes (36), Malins (54, 80), Piutau (62), Earl (71)
- Conversions: Sheedy (37, 55, 63), Lloyd (73)