Barkley makes it a perfect day for Bath

Bath 47 Rotherham 3
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Truly a game of two halves. The first insipid, filled with errors by both sides. The second a heady farrago of tries, a brawl and a streaker, and all of it culminating in a comprehensive victory for Bath.

They also collected a valuable bonus point and consolidated their lead at the top of the Zurich Premiership.

Their inside centre Olly Barkley treated a large crowd to an immaculate display of goal-kicking - four penalties out of four and all five tries converted.

There had never been much danger of Bath failing to extend their winning streak this season to five against the Premiership's bottom club.

Rotherham had arrived at the Recreation Ground with a four out of four record as well - four defeats on the trot - and their propensity to concede kickable penalties helped extend that dismal start.

But the home side did not get going until after the interval, at which point they went crazy, producing three tries in nine minutes, two for debutant Andrew Higgins.

Shortly after that came the brawl, sparked when Rotherham's replacement scrum-half Charlie Harrison, a former Bath man, seemed to knee Barkley in the face. As the dust settled from that imbroglio on came a male streaker, to the crowd's delight.

Rotherham had their moments, but they were too few. The only serious pressure they applied was after a quarter of an hour and Bath were able to lift that siege, reorganise themselves and move strongly back upfield.

Jason Strange landed his solitary penalty in the 34th minute after the Bath backs fell offside on their 22. Right on the cusp of half-time play was halted while an ambulance made its way on to the pitch in order to take away an elderly spectator who had fallen ill.

The half ended with Bath in control and from the restart Higgins went over at the end of a great passage of play which had seen some fine work by the flankers Michael Lipman and Andy Beattie.

Beattie then scored one of his own after a tap penalty, followed by Higgins's second before the replacement prop Matt Stevens thundered up the right on to a pass from the replacement back Gareth Knox for the fourth and Barkley crashed over in the corner for number five.

Bath: L Best; A Higgins (R Blake, 69), J Williams (G Knox, 47), O Barkley, T Brasher; C Malone, M Wood; D Flatman (D Barnes, 51), J Humphreys (capt; L Mears, 51), D Bell (M Stevens, 58), S Borthwick, R Fidler (S Gray, 67), A Beattie, I Feaunati, M Lipman (J Scaysbrook, 67).

Rotherham: J Benson; A Elliott, P Jorgensen (M Oliver, 79), J Pritchard, M Wood (D Strettle, 22); J Strange, J Rauluni (C Harrison, 46); N Lloyd, C Johnson (capt; P Smyth, 55), S Bunting (J Rawson, 67), D Cook (G Remnant, 55), L Greeff, C Short, G Lewis, N Spence (J Cockle, 63).

Referee: W Barnes (London)

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