Danny Cipriani scored 14 points as Sale Sharks secured their third Aviva Premiership victory of the season with a close-fought triumph over Bath last night.
The West Country team had won three out of their first four games going into this encounter, but it was Sale who took a 16-10 lead into half-time.
They had traded tries through Andy Forsyth and Semesa Rokoduguni but it was the kicking of Cipriani which separated them in the opening period, converting three opportunities to George Ford’s one. The second period proved less eventful, with the stand-offs adding a three-pointer each as the Sharks held on for the win.
It was not long before Cipriani opened the scoring when he kicked a drop-goal after Sharks pressure.But Bath were soon into their stride and they found a weakness on the hosts’ shortside which allowed Rokoduguni to scamper clear.
Cipriani hit back with a penalty and it was the hosts who were now in the ascendancy with their driving game marching the visitors back. They took advantage of an overlap to send Forsyth across the whitewash, Cipriani converting.
While the first period had plenty of excitement, the start of the second was dominated by Sale employing the choke-tackle to great effect and halting any Bath momentum.
When that tactic resulted in a scrum, the visitors collapsed the set-piece and Cipriani was once again on target. However, Ford reduced the deficit through a three-pointer of his own.
The away side were beginning to exert significant pressure on the Sharks’ rearguard, and it eventually told as Michael Paterson was sent to the sin-bin. But, despite Tom Biggs going close, Sale held firm to take the victory.
Sale: Miller; Mackenzie, Forsyth (Tuitupou, 51), Leota, Cueto; Cipriani (J Ford, 76), Peel; Lewis-Roberts (Harrison, 60), Taylor (Jones, 64), Cobilas (Thomas, 57), J Mills (Kulemin, 71), Paterson, Braid, Seymour, Easter.
Bath: Devoto (Henson, 72); Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Biggs (Williams, 77); G Ford, Stringer (Roberts, 67); James, Batty, Wilson (Perenise, 68), Hooper, Spencer, Garvey, Mercer (Fearns, 50), Houston (Faosiliva, 14).
Referee: A Small (RFU)