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Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Sunday, 3 April 2011 16:38 UK

Saracens 20-9 Bath

Saracens (11) 20
Tries: Strettle Goals: Goode 5
Bath (3) 9
Goals: James 3

David Strettle
Sarries winger David Strettle scored the only try of the game

Bath fell to a third consecutive Premiership defeat as they were outmuscled by Saracens in a fractured encounter at Vicarage Road.

Early errors allowed Saracens full-back Alex Goode to put his side 6-0 ahead with two penalties.

Bath responded with a Butch James penalty but Saracens ended the half stronger, David Strettle going over.

Goode and James traded further penalties after the break, as the home side kept in front to seal victory.

The result extends Saracens' winning run to seven matches, putting them only three points behind leaders Leicester.

Having lost heavily against Leicester in their last outing, Bath failed to build any momentum in the early stages at Vicarage Road, making basic errors and handing the initiative to their hosts.

Goode took advantage of Bath's lapses, slotting two early penalties, as clever tactical kicking from Saracens' half-backs kept the visitors under pressure for much of the half.

Shortly before the break, a James penalty gave Bath their first points but Saracens responded with vigour as winger Strettle broke free to cross the whitewash in the right-hand corner.

After a slow start to the second half, Goode and James traded penalties - both sides struggling to make defensive inroads as the forwards dominated.

Former Bath prop Matt Stevens was a standout player for the home side, putting in a man-of-the-match display for his new club as they stifled Bath's attacking intentions.

The result leaves Bath seventh in the Premiership table, 13 points behind the top four and a place in the play-offs.

Saracens prop Matt Stevens:

"I came into Saracens with everything sorted out. Week on week it's something I keep an eye on and I'm in a very stable environment.

"It's not just about what happens on the park and that has made it easy to stay focused and be healthy.

"I feel like a 20 year-old who's just started the game."

Bath head coach Steve Meehan:

"We've got 25 points left to play for and our objective must be to win as many as we can.

"That's all we can do and we'll see what happens in other fixtures."

Saracens: Goode, Strettle, Wyles, Barritt, Short, Farrell, Wigglesworth, Stevens, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Smith, K. Brown, Saull, Joubert.

Replacements: Cato for Short (71), Barrett for Wigglesworth (75), Du Plessis for Stevens (59), George for Brits (75), Gill for Nieto (41), Botha for Smith (50), Burger for K. Brown (50).

Bath: Abendanon, Banahan, Williams, Hape, Carraro, James, Claassens, Flatman, Mears, Bell, Hooper, Short, Skirving, Watson, Taylor.

Replacements: Vesty for James (78), Mercer for Claassens (78), Catt for Flatman (67), Dixon for Mears (67), Wilson for Bell (40), Fernandez Lobbe for Short (67), McMillan for Taylor (14).

Att: 9,653

Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales).

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see also
Guscott's predictions
01 Apr 11 |  English
Saracens 24-9 Newcastle
27 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Bath 6-37 Leicester
26 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union

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