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Bath come up short at Edgeley Park Bath come up short at Edgeley Park

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Bath come up short at Edgeley Park

Three of their tries were scored before the interval but they could not add to their score in the second half.

Instead it was Bath who came back with a try on the hour by teenager Ryan Davis, converted from the touchline by Chris Malone.

The West Country side then dug in to spare themselves the humiliation that was threatened earlier in the game.

A capacity crowd of 10,500 packed a wintery Edgeley Park to mark the return of a host of front line players not seen in action together for Sale in nearly two months.

In that time they had slipped to third place in the Premiership table, staying ahead of Bath only on points difference.

The one absentee was Sililo Martens who picked up a calf injury in training, giving way at scrum half to Richard Wigglesworth.

England forward Chris Jones, having recovered from a finger injury suffered in the loss at Bath six weeks before was on the bench.

Bath's chances of achieving a double were badly hit before the game when goal kicker Olly Barkley failed a fitness test after suffering back spasms.

Teenager Davis, who had only made his debut at full-back a week earlier, filled in at inside centre.

Sale, perhaps guilty of over-eagerness in the early minutes, conceded a string of penalties but Malone missed a 35-metre kick from a relatively straightforward position after five minutes.

Sale wing Steve Hanley should have opened the scoring a minute later but slipped with Matt Perry to beat and lost possession.

The left winger suffered a blood injury in the process and it was while he was off the field for treatment that his temporary replacement, Chris Mayor, showed him how it should be done.

Bath lost possession on 17 minutes and Sale moved the ball left giving Mayor the chance to slip Malone's tackle and touch down in the corner. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion.

Malone pulled back three points with a 23rd-minute penalty but two minutes later Sale scored a beautifully crafted try through England wing Mark Cueto which owed everything to Jos Baxendell's quick hands. Hodgson converted and Sale set about extending their 12-3 lead.

Back row men John Carter and Sebastien Chabal and Cueto were all held up over the Bath line before Carter finally scored from a pick and drive at a scrum in injury time.

Hodgson's conversion put Sale 19-3 ahead at the break but it was Bath who started the second half in more determined mood.

Malone missed two kicks in the early minutes and Bath failed to take advantage.

But Malone then fired a speculative cross-kick to the right wing and Davis was quickly up in support of Joe Maddock to claim the try. Malone converted from the touchline.

Hodgson, worryingly off form with his touch kicking, missed a sitter a minute later and the remaining 20 minutes saw Bath defending desperately.

The visitors will have been disappointed at not claiming a losing bonus point themselves but it was Sale who perhaps felt they had missed out.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:Tries: Carter, Mayor, CuetoCons: Hodgson 2

For Bath:Try: DanielCon: Malone Pen: Malone

Lineups

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