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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 November 2007, 16:50 GMT
Bath 28-13 Bristol
Matt Stevens
Bath's Matt Stevens is tackled during his side's derby victory
Bath (17) 28
Tries: Higgins, Lipman, Banahan
Cons: Barkley 2
Pens: Barkley 3

Bristol (6) 13
Tries: Lemi
Cons: Strange
Pens: Strange 2

Bath underlined their Premiership title credentials with a conclusive three-try win over neighbours Bristol at the Rec.

South Africa's World Cup-winning fly-half Butch James had an impressive league debut for the home side.

But their tries went to Andrew Higgins, Michael Lipman and Matthew Banahan with Olly Barkley kicking 13 points.

Bristol had their moments and one notably led to a fine try by left-wing David Lemi, but the west country honours belonged to high-flying Bath.

The hosts made their intentions known from the start, racking up a point a minute as the visitors looked on in some bewilderment for the first 20 minutes.

First, a multi-phased attack forced an offside and a successful penalty kick by Barkley.

Next, James's inch-perfect kick to the right touchline saw the ball bounce into Luke Arscott's arms just as Higgins made the tackle. The ex-Bristol wing robbed the full-back and cantered over for a ninth-minute try converted by Barkley.

Then on 19 minutes James was creator again, feeding Banahan with a neat inside pass for Lipman.


Bristol's fightback gained momentum when Lemi scored after riding Nick Abendanon's tackle following good work from Shaun Perry and Rob Higgitt.

The visitors searched for another score keeping the ball for minutes on end but eventually spilled a pass and Bath struck, the ball passing through eight pairs of hands before Banahan crashed through Arscott's tackle to score 70 metres upfield.

  • Bath coach Steve Meehan:

    "At the start of the season we had earmarked this game. We spoke more about Bristol this week than we have in the build-up to any other match.

    "After seven matches now we've probably exceeded expectations. If we keep our feet on the ground and believe in ourselves results will continue to come.

    "If you compare us with where we were this time last year we've come on in leaps and bounds."

  • Bristol coach Richard Hill:

    "We lost the game in the first 20 minutes when we went 17-0 down. We fought bravely but once Bath got their tails up it was going to be very difficult.

    "We are not necessarily expecting to be in the top four this year. We've got virtually the same squad but it was a conscious decision that our money would be spent on funding our fantastic new training facilities which cost some 700,000.

    "Next year perhaps we'll have resources to build the squad again. We've got to do that if the club is to move on."

    Bath: Abendanon, Higgins, Berne, Barkley, Banahan, James, Claassens, Stevens, Mears, Ward, Borthwick, Short, Beattie, Lipman, Browne.
    Replacements: Stephenson for Abendanon (75), Cheeseman for Berne (74), Walshe for Claassens (74), Dixon for Mears (75), Ion for Ward (52), Faamatuainu for Beattie (52).
    Not Used: Scaysbrook.

    Bristol: L. Arscott, Robinson, Higgitt, Brew, Lemi, Strange, Perry, Clarke, Regan, Hobson, Winters, Hohneck, Blowers, El Abd, Ward-Smith.
    Replacements: Hill for Brew (55), Taumalolo for Strange (68), Crompton for Clarke (55), Blaney for Regan (68), To'oala for El Abd (49).
    Not Used: Llewellyn, O'Riordan.

    Att: 10,600

    Ref: Wayne Barnes (England).

    Bristol sunk at Bath
    19 Nov 07 |  Bristol
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