Bath Rugby turned on the power in an impressive second-half display to pull away from a competitive Worcester Warriors side and record a 32-9 bonus-point victory at the Rec.
The victory was Bath’s fifth in a row, and they wasted no time in building on last weekend’s 32-5 demolition of Gloucester Rugby in the LV= Cup.
Bath attacked from the off, winning an early lineout five metres from the Worcester try line. Two scrums later Peter Stringer showed he had lost none of his know-how by burrowing over the whitewash from close range to make it 5-0.
Stephen Donald failed with the conversion and Worcester worked their way back into the game, winning a penalty on the Bath ten-metre line that Danny Gray – a late replacement for the sick Andy Goode – kicked for touch.
From the resulting lineout the ball was worked to David Lemi who crossed for a try only for referee Wayne Barnes to pull play back for a forward pass from Jon Clarke in the build-up.
Worcester were awarded a penalty for a Bath infringement, however, which Gray dispatched to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
Both sides exchanged penalties as Bath worked their way deep into the Worcester 22, great defending from the visitors preventing the home side from extending their lead, although they lost Dean Schofield to the sin-bin for infringing at the maul.
Bath made the extra man pay, Rob Webber using his power to drive over from close range from a lineout on 24 minutes, with Donald again wayward from the tee.
Gray swiftly narrowed the gap to 10-6 with another penalty, this time from an acute angle as the sides engaged in an aerial battle.
As the first half wound down Worcester pushed on into Bath territory and Gray was given a third opportunity with the boot, making no mistake with another penalty to make it a one-point game only for Bath to instantly reply through Donald whose penalty made it 13-9.
Worcester came out strongly in the second half, winning a lineout on halfway before Gray found touch on the Bath 22 with a penalty.
Under pressure, Dave Attwood infringed once too often for Wayne Barnes and with six minutes of the second period gone Bath were down to 14 men.
Worcester forced a series of scrums but couldn’t break Bath resistance as hooker Aleki Lutui was held up over the try line.
And Bath made them pay as a lovely pass from Kyle Eastmond sent Tom Biggs racing away from the chasing cover to cross in the corner and put the home side 18-9 ahead, Donald again missing the conversion.
Both sides rung the chances but it made no difference to Bath’s momentum with substitute Tom Heathcote finding Eastmond whose lofted pass put away Horacio Agulla to score.
Heathcote converted the bonus point score to give Bath a 16-point lead with 16 minutes remaining. Agulla nearly made it five for Bath shortly after only for the try to be cancelled for another forward pass.
Shell-shocked Worcester continued to probe in search of a way back into the game only for Craig Gillies to see yellow with ten minutes remaining.
David Lemi joined him for an early bath as he deliberately knocked on Nick Abendanon’s offload to Agulla as Worcester finished with 13 men.
Bath, looking flush with confidence, went close again when Biggs was bundled into touch five metres from the line but the pressure told when Heathcote chipped ahead for Agulla to run on and collect.
Heathcote’s conversion was virtually the last kick of the game, sealing a dominant victory for the home side who strode away from Worcester after half-time.