Saracens 38-30 Bath
Tom Shanklin drops the ball just short of the line
Saracens will take an eight-point lead into the second leg of their Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-final after a second-half scoring spree at Vicarage Road.
Tries by Brett Sparg, Ben Johnston and Tom Shanklin in the space of 14 minutes had set the home side well on course for victory.
But Bath, playing their third game in eight days, pushed their opponents all the way with Elvis Seveali'i scoring twice in the last 10 minutes.
Bath built up a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes with wing Tom Voyce going over for a try, converted by Olly Barkley, who also added an early penalty.
Tries: Sparg, Haughton, Shanklin, Johnston
Pens: Little 3, Goode
Cons: Little 3
Tries: Voyce, Seveali'i 2
Pens: Barkley 3
Cons: Barkley 3
Saracens kept in the game with Nicky Little kicking a penalty and Richard Haughton capitalising on a break by Kyran Bracken to go over for a try, converted by Little.
Little also added a long-range penalty in first-half injury-time to give his side a 13-10 lead they scarcely deserved.
But Bath saw their hopes of victory disappear in the third quarter when they let their concentration slip and Saracens capitalised.
First Thomas Castaignede and replacement hooker Matt
Cairns set up Brett Sparg with Little converting.
Richard Haughton tries to power forward
Tom Shanklin was then grounded just before the line but Ben Johnston was on hand to claim the score.
Moments later, Kyran Bracken took a quick penalty which allowed Richard Haughton to sprint down the wing and pass to Shanklin.
But after building up a comfortable lead Saracens went to sleep. This allowed the Samoan, Bath's midweek hero, to go over twice in quick succession.
Olly Barkley converted both tries and then added a penalty to give his side hope.
Saracens replacement Andy Goode added another late penalty to keep Bath at arms length and give his side a slim advantage going into the second leg on 26 April.
Saracens: Castaignede, Haughton, Shanklin, Johnston, Sparg,
Little, Bracken, Califano, R. Russell, Marsters, Benazzi,
Yandell, Peacey, Roques, Skirving.
Replacements: Ross, Cairns, Hooper, B. Russell, Williams, Goode,
Bath: Perry, Voyce, Seveali'i, Maggs, Danielli, Barkley, Cooper,
Barnes, Long, Galasso, Borthwick, Grewcock, Scaysbrook, Beattie,
Replacements: Blake, Humphreys, Stevens, Delve, Malone,
G. Thomas, N. Thomas.
Referee: Joel Jutge (France)