Bath 12 Sale 3
Pens: Homer (4); Cipriani
Kick Off: Friday 6 March 2015 19:45
Competition: Aviva Premiership
Bath prevailed over Sale in a battle of the kickers on a chilly Friday night at the Rec. The result was an important one for the hosts who managed to reverse a run of three successive defeats to keep their play-off hopes on track. Full back Tom Homer was the hero of the hour, kicking all twelve points for Bath in a tight encounter that was often lacking in quality.
Bath broke the deadlock and got their first points on the board after fifteen minutes, when Homer did well to capitalize on a penalty and sweetly struck the ball over the posts from the left. Minutes later, Danny Cipriani had a moment to forget as he wasted an easy opportunity to level the scores. The Sale fly half slipped at the critical moment and ended up scuffing the ball wide from just in front of the posts. Both sides were struggling to create clear cut chances but did add three points each just before half time. Homer kicked well to exploit Mike Haley’s knock on, before Cipriani went some way to make amends for his previous mistake by beautifully curling the ball over the posts from a tight angle.
Sale came out for the second half looking the stronger team and were unlucky not to grab an early try. They piled on the pressure from around five meters out but the Bath defence did incredibly well to hold firm and deny the visitors. Sixteen minutes into the second half, Bath winger Semesa Rokoduguni then showed a moment of inspiration as he broke the ranks to ignite an attack. Despite failing to bundle the ball over the line, the home side did well to win a penalty, which Homer easily dispatched to extend the lead to six points. Bath seemed to gain confidence from this lead and took the ascendency for the final twenty minutes. This pressure was rewarded with another three points as Homer again found the posts from just outside the 22 metre line. In the closing minutes the home side pushed for a grandstand finish but could not quite finish the match with a try that their second half performance probably deserved.
Overall Bath did enough to overcome the visitors and the performances of Tom Homer and Carl Fearns were very encouraging. However, the side as a whole will know that better performances against sterner opposition will be needed to achieve success this season.