Bath deprived an injury-hit Newcastle Falcons of their unbeaten home record in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP for a second successive season at Kingston Park.
In a curiously low-key match, Newcastle found themselves 10-0 down inside the first six minutes, Shaun Berne kicking an early penalty and shrugging off Andy Perry’s weak tackle to score under the posts.
Berne’s try seemed to shake Newcastle out of their lethargy but Tim Visser wasted a good chance when he tried to blast through with a two-man overlap waiting, and it could have been 15-0 when Ian Davey went over in the corner only for Danny Grewcock’s pass to be ruled forward.
Michael Claassens’ pass to Berne was also forward as he went over in the opposite corner but Newcastle’s luck could not last forever.
Claassens darted in as the Falcons failed to ground a bouncing ball behind their own line and the scrum-half was awarded the try after referee Rob Debney went to the television match official.
Newcastle finally got their act together with Brent Wilson’s charge down the right and Matt Burke’s gliding run through midfield before Visser’s chip and chase had Bath’s defence scrambling as the ball ran dead.
The mounting pressure paid off with the Falcons spurning a penalty kick at goal to set up a succession of rucks and Tom May scored his fourth try in four home games from close range.
Burke converted and then clawed another three points back with a 47th-minute penalty.
However, Falcons’ failure to nail their first tackles cost them dear when big lock Peter Short trundled through and the ball was moved back inside for Davey to step through three tackles and score Bath’s third try.
Burke’s second penalty cut Bath’s lead before he limped off injured and Michael Stephenson skidded over in the corner for Bath’s bonus-point try.
There seemed no way back for Newcastle, especially when Ryan Davis kicked a 68th-minute drop goal, and Bath sealed the win when May was unable to gather a kick through and Bath simply moved it wide for Matt Banahan to rumble over in the corner.
That made it 33-12 but there was still time for Joe Shaw to score the home side’s second try down the left, Steve Jones converting.