Bath beat West Country rivals Bristol in European Challenge Cup

Rhys Priestland

Bath’s Rhys Priestland kicks the first of his five penalties

Bath beat Bristol in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as the West Country foes met for the first time since 2009.

The hosts led 12-3 at the break as Rhys Priestland kicked four out of four penalties, while debutant academy fly-half Billy Searle replied for Bristol.

Bristol replacement Shane Geraghty closed the gap after the break, but Priestland quickly replied.

And the Bath fly-half took his tally to 17 points after Matt Banahan’s 80th-minute try.

The visitors were down to 13 players for a short time late on, after Jack Tovey and Geraghty were sin-binned.

It was Bath’s second win in Pool 4 and they top the group, while Bristol have lost their opening two matches.

Bath: T. Homer, Williams, Joseph, Banahan, Brew, Priestland, W. Homer, Auterac, van Vuuren, Lahiff, Charteris, Ewels, Garvey, G. Mercer, Z. Mercer.

Replacements: Dunn, Knight, Palma-Newport, Stooke, Houston, Bowden, Hastings, Rokoduguni.

Bristol: J. Williams, Edwards, Tovey, Hurrell, Varndell, Searle, Cliff, Traynor, Brooker, Perenise, Evans, J. Phillips, Eadie, Fisher, Crane.

Replacements: Hawkins, O’Connell, Hall, Nemsadze, Robinson, Uren, Geraghty, Wallace.

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland).

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