Premiership - Quins stretch lead, Gloucester win at Bath

Sat, 18 Feb 19:35:00 2012

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Nick Evans, Harlequins - 0

Harlequins 16-14 Worcester

The combined might of Nick Evans' boot and the Harlequins pack helped Harlequins stretch their lead at the top of the Premiership table to seven points with a hard-fought 16-14 win over Worcester at The Stoop.

A pre-match downpour in south-west London reduced the game to a battle up front and Evans' 11 points proved the difference between the sides.

On a day when relegation rivals Newcastle Falcons bagged an all-important win, Richard Hill's Warriors played their part in gaining a losing bonus point, with Premiership fly-half debutant Joe Gray kicking nine points to add to a Miles Benjamin score.

A first-half penalty try was Quins' other score but it was Evans' boot - despite two second-half misses - that sealed a hard-fought win.

Bath 11-14 Gloucester

Teenager Ryan Mills was the hero as his penalty gave Gloucester a 14-11 victory at The Rec to complete the double over local rivals Bath.

The 19-year-old England Under-20 cap, on as a replacement, calmly slotted the crucial three-pointer with 10 minutes to play of a fiercely-contested West Country derby after Matt Banahan had been guilty of not rolling away.

Gloucester had led 11-5 at the break thanks to a try from prop Nick Wood and two Freddie Burns penalties.

Bath had opened the scoring after wing Tom Biggs showed good footballing skills to touch down and a penalty apiece from centre Olly Barkley and fly-half Tom Heathcote levelled matters entering the final quarter, only for Mills to strike the clinching kick.

The win dents Bath's hopes of Heineken Cup qualification but Gloucester's win leaves them well-placed to launch a late surge for a place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals.

Newcastle 19-10 London Irish

The Newcastle Falcons came from behind to beat London Irish 19-10 at Kingston Park and record just their third win of the season.

The Exiles raced into a 10-3 lead courtesy of an early try from Tom Homer.

Jimmy Gopperth's three penalties and a drop goal edged Newcastle in front, however, while Ryan Shortland's try with just over 10 minutes left guaranteed the win and denied Irish a losing bonus point.

Northampton 24-17 Sale

Stephen Myler kicked seven penalties as Northampton defeated Sale 24-17 in a bruising contest at Franklin's Gardens.

Sale were the more enterprising side, scoring the only try of the game, but ill-discipline which saw them lose two players to the sin-bin ultimately cost them the match.

A late drop goal from Ryan Lamb sealed the victory for Northampton, but Sale were full value for their bonus point.

Wasps 15-12 Exeter

Fly-half Ignacio Mieres kicked five penalties to give Exeter a hard-fought 15-12 win at Adams Park to pile on the misery for relegation-threatened Wasps.

Despite dominating possession for long periods of the match, the home side just could not break through the Chiefs defence as they slumped to an eighth straight Aviva Premiership defeat.

A game that was played in wet conditions never really caught fire with tryscoring opportunities rare - but this will matter little to Rob Baxter's resilient Exeter.

The hosts replied with four penalties by Nick Robinson but this is another damaging blow to their morale.

PA Sport

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