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Saturday, November 6, 1999 Published at 22:14 GMT

Sport: Rugby Union

Bedford go down fighting

Banks is seen here tackling England's Jeremy Guscott while playing for Canada

Bath survived a scare against Allied Dunbar stragglers Bedford to retain their place as joint leaders of the Premiership.

The underdogs led 24-16 with 20 minutes left and were threatening a huge upset on Bath's home turf when they were reduced to 14 men.

Two-try hero Ryan Banks marred what should have been a memorable match-winning display when he was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

Bath took full advantage and scored two tries in a devastating six-minute spell before the Canadian international's return.

First Mike Tindall finished off a good back row move and then Ben Sturnham broke from the base of the scrum and flattened the Bedford defence.

Bedford, without a point to their name this season, rallied to spark a tumultuous ending.

They won three penalties on the Bath line in the dying minutes and found themselves with the man advantage as Bath lock forward Deiniol Jones found hismelf in the sin-bin.

But Bath somehow survived a succession of scrums on their line.

It leaves Bedford still rooted to the foot of the table and with 195 points against their name.

Bath coach Andy Robinson praised his players for their comeback.

"It was sure close and full marks for Bedford for making it that. I knew we were going to be in for a tough game here in spite of our difference in the league table.

"And it turned out to be that. Bedford have re-launched themselves and they gave a good account to their supporters."

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