Premiership: Bristol Bears edge bottom side Bath to claim derby spoils

Harry Randall Credit: Alamy
Harry Randall Credit: Alamy

Bristol Bears claimed the derby spoils against Bath on Friday as they won 15-13 in a result that leaves the latter rooted to the foot of the table.

Tries from James Williams and Siva Naulago as well as a conversion and penalty from AJ MacGinty helped the Bears to pick up a victory on the road.

Miles Reid would cross for Bath in the first half with Piers Francis kicking their remaining eight points, as they went down to another defeat at home.

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Bristol conceded three early penalties and from the third, Francis had the chance to give his side the lead but his kick from 50 metres fell short.

That was as close as either side came to scoring in a disjointed first 15 minutes with the teams illustrating why they lie in the bottom three of the Premiership table.

After a plethora of knock-ons and wayward passing, Bristol conjured up the first score of the game when a well-timed pass from Harry Randall let Semi Radradra burst through the home defence to set up a try for Williams.

MacGinty converted for Bristol to lead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter before Bath again missed the opportunity to come onto the scoreboard when Francis missed a straightforward penalty.

The home side were given three further kickable penalty chances in quick succession but changed their tactic and opted for attacking line-outs.

Joe Cokanasiga came close to scoring but the wing was forced into touch by an excellent cover tackle from Gabriel Ibitoye.

From another penalty close to the visitors’ line, Reid forced his way over with a conversion and a penalty from Francis giving Bath a 10-7 lead at the interval.

The hosts lost Cokanasiga at half-time to an injury and within two minutes of the restart they suffered another blow when Bristol regained the lead.

A clean break from MacGinty put the defence on the back foot and when the ball was recycled, Naulago brushed aside a weak tackle from Matt Gallagher to score.

Bath’s woes continued when full-back Tom de Glanville left the field for an HIA but their spirits were restored when first MacGinty was yellow-carded before Francis kicked the resulting penalty.

De Glanville and MacGinty both returned and it was the Bristol fly-half who put Bears back in front with a simple penalty with 14 minutes remaining before Francis crucially missed with a 35-metre kick to give Bristol the points.

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