Rugby Union: Not the merry best of Bath

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Newcastle Gosforth. . .5

Bath. . . . . . . . . 29

Jack Rowell's return to his former club was hardly triumphant as the new England manager watched his Bath side stutter to victory.

It was a frequently ill-tempered match in which a mass brawl led to the referee lecturing the captains. It did little to end the niggle throughout an unsatisfactory game which saw Newcastle relegated and Bath stay on course for the double.

Bath, though, will have to find another gear in the next two weeks if they are to give Rowell the send-off they desperately want before he takes England to South Africa.

After failing to come up with the expected deluge of points against Newcastle, who Leicester crushed 66-5 two weeks ago, Bath cannot relax. With a tough run-in, they will have to draw on all their resources and will need their international contingent of Ben Clarke, Andy Reed, Phil de Glanville and Victor Ubogu back in action as soon as possible - although there must be some doubt about Clarke's availablity for the Quins cup-tie after he suffered a broken nose in Hong Kong over the weekend.

In between the frequent snarling confrontations at Kingston Park, Newcastle grabbed the first try in the 12th minute - scored by Martin Corry after the centre Matt Tetlow had stretched the Bath midfield.

Stuart Barnes caught the Newcastle defence on the hop to set up Bath's response, switching the direction of play so that Martin Haag could go over unopposed. Callard's conversion was followed by a couple of penalties, but Bath stretched out of Newcastle's sight with two tries in six minutes in the second half. Another big drive by the Bath pack made the first for Mike Catt and then a quickly taken penalty saw Haag go over in the corner for his second try. Ian Sanders concluded the formalities when he went in from close range following a ruck.

Newcastle Gosforth: Try Corry. Bath: Tries Haag 2, Catt, Sanders; Conversions Callard 3; Penalty Callard.

Newcastle Gosforth: D Bennett; D Casado, I Chandler, M Tetlow, R Wilkinson; D Johnson (capt), S Douglas; M Fraser, A Hetherington, P Vanzandvliet, F Mitchell, R Metcalfe (G Clark, 46), M Corry, R Hoole, R Arnold.

Bath: J Callard; A Swift, E Rayner, M Catt, A Adebayo (M Olsen, 31); S Barnes, I Sanders; C Clark, G Dawe (C Atkins, 68), J Mallett, N Redman, M Haag, A Robinson, J Hall (capt), S Ojomoh.

Referee: D Chapman (Scunthorpe).

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