Saints fail to deliver as Bath end their winless start to the Premiership season

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Saints became Bath's first victims of the season as Phil Dowson's side fell to a hugely disappointing 27-14 defeat at The Rec on Saturday afternoon.

The black, green and gold enjoyed an abundance of territory and possession throughout the game, but they struggled to make it count.

Bath, who had lost all six of their Gallagher Premiership games, took advantage of Saints' lapses when they came, scoring from a break, a lineout drive and an interception.

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And at the other end, Saints went unrewarded time after time as the Bath defence stood tall, helped by some interesting breakdown refereeing by Anthony Woodthorpe.

Miles Reid got the scoring started as Bath bagged their first win of the season, at Saints' expenseMiles Reid got the scoring started as Bath bagged their first win of the season, at Saints' expense
Miles Reid got the scoring started as Bath bagged their first win of the season, at Saints' expense

Saints were sinners all afternoon, conceding an avalanche of penalties as they continually took the heat off a Bath side who had little of the ball in attack.

And in the end, Saints fell to a fourth defeat in seven Premiership games this season, giving Bath the win they had craved since day one.

It had been a fairly even start at The Rec as both sides searched for a foothold in the game without really developing any momentum.

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Saints had the first chance to pick up some points, having won a scrum penalty, but James Grayson sent his kick wide.

Bath were giving away plenty of clear penalties, allowing Saints to build pressure, but the hosts managed to hold out, turning the ball over in front of their own posts.

And Saints were soon made to pay as they were hit with a sucker punch.

Referee Woodthorpe, who had missed a couple of Bath offences early on, failed to penalise Bath for playing the nine, and they took full advantage.

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Saints found themselves cut open as Cameron Redpath found a gap and sent Miles Reid in for the game's opening score.

George Worboys converted on his Premiership debut, and Saints were behind.

The away side had done most of the pressing during the first 30 minutes, but it was turning into a really frustrating affair as they were unable to find a way through the home defence.

The frustration hit boiling point three minutes before the break as Bath kept the heat on in attack, eventually allowing hooker Tom Dunn to force his way over from a lineout drive.

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Worboys landed the conversion and Saints faced the prospect of going in at half-time two tries down and without a single point to their name.

There was one final chance for the away side to attack, but Grayson's pass went astray with numbers on the outside before Bath won a penalty at the breakdown.

It capped a hugely frustrating half for Saints, who had almost totally dominated the territory and possession yet had nothing to show for it.

The second half started in the same fashion, with Bath holding out to win another breakdown penalty in front of their own posts.

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Another breakdown penalty further up the field gave Worboys a chance to extend his side's lead, but his effort was far from close as the score stayed at 14-0.

Saints were still the ones dictating the play, and they finally got on the board 14 minutes into the second half.

Alex Mitchell took a quick tap penalty before the ball was fizzed from right to left for Tom Collins to score.

Grayson slotted the conversion superbly from the touchline to cut the gap to seven points.

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Saints were starting to threaten, but after Lewis Ludlam won a big breakdown penalty, his final act of the game as he was forced off injured, Mitchell's pass was knocked on.

Bath finally managed to apply some pressure at the other end of the pitch, earning a penalty, which Worboys slotted with ease.

Saints turned to their bench for options in the final 14 minutes of the match, replacing their half-backs as George Furbank moved to 10 and George Hendy came on at 15.

But Bath scored almost immediately as Redpath intercepted on halfway and raced in for the try that looked to give his side the breathing space they needed.

Worboys converted and it was 24-7 with 11 minutes to go.

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Saints finally forced their way over from a lineout drive with eight minutes to go, as Sam Graham got the score.

Furbank converted but the gap was 10 points and it was soon 13 as Worboys slotted a penalty when Saints were penalised for being offside.

Hendy led a late attack as Saints sought to at least try to claim a bonus point, but as was the case all afternoon, it wasn't to be.

Bath: Gallagher; Cokanasiga, Lawrence, Redpath (Ojomoh 76), Butt; Worboys, Shreuder (Carr-Smith 70); Schoeman (Cordwell 62), Dunn (c) (Annett 59), Coetzee (Rae 28); Attwood, Roux (Lee-Warner 40); Bayliss, Reid, de Carpentier (Hill 62).

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Saints: Furbank; Collins, Proctor (Litchfield 70), Dingwall, Sleightholme; Grayson (Hendy 66), Mitchell (James 66); A Waller (Iyogun 49), Matavesi (Smith 78), Hill (Petch 59); Salakaia-Loto, Ribbans (Moon 66); Coles, Ludlam (c), Augustus.

Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe