Sale Sharks overcame a second-half comeback from Bath Rugby to win the first of their two successive Aviva Premiership encounters by 29 points to 17.
Sale took little time to draw first blood in the match, tighthead Vadim Cobilas crashing over near the posts in the ninth minute for a try that was converted by Danny Cipriani. 7-0.
Five minutes later, Bath captain George Ford atoned for an earlier missed kick at goal with a successful penalty. 7-3.
Midway through the first half, Cipriani showed a trademark moment of ball-handling magic to open up a gap out wide for wing Will Addison to touch down. Ciprani added the extras. 14-3.
A further Cipriani penalty in the 38th minute was bookended two minutes either side by penalties from Ford as Bath twice won scrum penalties against the head.
Half-time: Sale Sharks 17-9 Bath Rugby
Arguably the best phase of the match for Bath came 11 minutes into the second half, when some breathtaking fingertip handling from Leroy Houston, Rhys Priestland and then George Ford took play from one side of the field to the other, ending with a Semesa Rokoduguni in the right corner. Ford was unable to add the two points from the touchline. 17-14.
The second half continued in the same vein for Bath's forwards, as their scrum won another penalty against the head in the 56th minute, allowing Ford to put three points on the board that levelled the scores. 17-17.
Bath were made to see out much of the the final ten minutes with 13 men following an injury to Kyle Eastmond and then a Dom Day yellow card - after Bath's forwards brought down Sale's maul metres out from the visitors' line.
On their second maul attempt after the yellow, Sale succeeded in scoring through replacement back row Dave Seymour, althought the TMO adjudged Cipriani's conversion to have been unsuccessful. 22-17.
Sale enjoyed a final flourish with just a minute left on the clock as number eight Mark Easter scored a try down the left thanks to a powerful burst by wing Nev Edwards. Cipriani made light work of a difficult conversion to add the extra two points.
Full-time: Sale Sharks 29-17 Bath Rugby
AJ Bell Stadium
17 April 2016
Referee: Luke Pearce
Half Time score: 17-9
- Tries: Cobilas (9), Addison (19), Seymour (72), Easter (78)
- Conversions: Cipriani (10, 20, 79)
- Penalties: Cipriani (37)
- Tries: Rokoduguni (50)
- Penalties: Ford (14, 34, 41, 56)
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