Aviva Premiership: Bath run in five tries during win against Worcester
Last Updated: 09/02/13 6:16pm
Matt Banahan: Bath centre stopped in his tracks
A fluent attacking performance earned Bath a 32-9 bonus-point victory over Worcester in the battle between eighth and ninth in the Aviva Premiership.
It was not quite enough to overtake Exeter - the two sides are now level on points - but was Bath's fifth win in succession in all competitions.
First-half tries from Peter Stringer and hooker Rob Webber gave Bath a 13-9 lead and they ran Worcester off their feet in the second half with further tries by wings Tom Biggs and Horacio Agulla (two).
Danny Gray kicked all of Worcester's only points with three first-half penalties.
Worcester kept the ball for long periods of the game and were combative at the breakdown, where Gloucester-bound Matt Kvesic impressed, but they lacked firepower behind the scrum.
Worcester's preparations had been disrupted just 10 minutes before kick-off when Andy Goode trudged off after being violently sick during the warm-up. Gray stepped in at fly-half.
Bath made a quick start, Nick Abendanon was just held on the line, as was Biggs, but Stringer burrowed through to touch down on five minutes. Stephen Donald's conversion was wide.
Worcester monopolised possession for much of the first quarter but Bath were dangerous on the break and especially down the flanks. Charlie Beech made a strong run to the corner as the home side stepped up the pressure again, forcing Worcester to concede one penalty too many.
As Dean Schofield went to the sin-bin, Rob Webber scored from a lineout catch and drive with 22 minutes played.
With Donald's radar awry, however, Gray's second penalty from wide out soon cut Bath's lead to 10-6. And the home side continued to give away needless penalties, allowing the stand-in fly-half to make it 10-9 after 35 minutes.
Donald made amends straight away with a long and high restart which caught Errie Claassens exposed and the New Zealander was finally on target with a close-range penalty to send his side in at the break with a 13-9 advantage.
Bath failed to take the hint from referee Wayne Barnes about persistent infringing and Dave Attwood was shown the yellow card on 45 minutes.
Bath held firm in defence and they then pounced from a lineout just outside the Worcester 22 when long, accurate passes by Donald and Eastmond gave Biggs a half-yard outside Claassens to sprint 30 metres for the try. Donald was just short with the conversion but Bath had survived a sticky patch to lead 18-9 with 55 minutes gone.
And they pulled even further away on 62 minutes with the bonus-point try. The forwards marched deep into the Worcester 22 before Stringer released the backs going right and Eastmond floated a delightful pass into the hands of Agulla, who finished expertly. Tom Heathcote, on for Donald, banged over the conversion.
Worcester replacement Craig Gillies, a former Bath player, was the third lock to see yellow on 70 minutes, quickly followed by wing Lemi for a deliberate knock-on as Bath threatened again.
Agulla finished off with a flourish on 77 minutes picking the ball out of the air one-handed from Heathcote's delicate chip, leaving the young Scotland fly-half to knock over the conversion.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 14
Harlequins' 10-match winning streak came to an end as London Wasps held on for a 17-16 victory at the Twickenham Stoop.
Full-back Tom Homer kicked 19 points to help London Irish upset the odds with a 29-16 victory over Saracens.
Gloucester moved above Northampton in the play-off race with a 27-11 victory in their clash at Franklin's Gardens.