Second-half tries from front row forwards Carl Rimmer and Moray Low gave Exeter Chiefs a hard-fought victory over local rivals Bath Rugby in the LV= Cup.
The sides went into half-time level at 3-3 after a cagey first period in front of a club-record crowd of 11,785 at Sandy Park.
But Rimmer and Low barged over from close range in the second 40 minutes to give the Chiefs just their second-ever victory over Bath in the tenth fixture between the sides.
Exeter now have two wins out of two in this season’s LV= Cup while their opponents have one victory and one loss.
Although the competition is traditionally seen as a breeding ground for young talent, both clubs selected strong starting line-ups with local bragging rights on the line.
Scottish full-back Byron McGuigan made his Chiefs debut following his recent move from New Zealand side Bay of Plenty but it was the visitors who started the stronger – Gavin Henson slotting them into an early 3-0 lead from the tee.
Bath continued to press with Henson orchestrating proceedings from the fly-half position although Exeter did pose a consistent threat down the wings.
With 22 minutes on the clock the visitors had a glorious opportunity to extend their three-point lead.
A number of phases ended with Bath having men over on the right-hand side but some valiant last-ditch defending from the hosts allowed them to turn the ball over and clear their lines.
There is just one position between the teams in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and the closely-fought nature of the opening period demonstrated how evenly matched they are.
Matt Banahan charged an Exeter kick down but couldn’t quite gather the loose ball before the Chiefs responded by setting up camp in their opponents' 22.
Scrum-half Will Chudley broke clear following a 32nd minute line-out but Bath winger Richard Lane produced a try-saving tackle as the Bath fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Gareth Steenson finally got his side on the board a few minutes before the break as he fired a penalty between the uprights and despite a spell of pressure from the Chiefs, the teams went into the interval locked at 3-3.
A scything run from Lane in the early stages of the second half required another last-ditch tackle before Henson restored his team’s lead with a second penalty.
The former Welsh international then had the opportunity to add to the advantage but his long-range penalty cannoned back off the crossbar.
And the hosts made them pay with the first try of the game after 61 minutes.
A well-constructed driving maul from a line-out ended with replacement prop Rimmer surging over the line before Steenson added the extras to give the Chiefs a 10-6 lead.
Falling behind for the first time in the match added a sense of urgency to Bath’s play but they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
And the Chiefs sealed the victory with four minutes remaining as Scottish international Low barrelled his way over the line to score his first try in Exeter colours.
Steenson missed the conversion but nailed a penalty with the last kick of the game to make the final score 18-6 to the Chiefs.
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