Bath Rugby ended a seven-year drought at Kingsholm in emphatic style, running in five tries to beat Gloucester 32-5 in the LV=Cup.
Gary Gold’s experienced squad, led by the returning Carl Fearns, sent out a message to their Aviva Premiership rivals against a Gloucester side that managed to stay in touch until half-time before slipping to their second heavy defeat in as many weeks.
Bath’s five tries all came from different scorers and they dominated from the whistle, coming close on a driving lineout early on before a Stephen Donald chip beat wing Olly Woodburn to the dead ball line.
Andy Hazell – fresh from a 14-week ban for punching – was back in the referee's book early on when he conceded an early penalty for taking out Donald after a kick that put his side deep in their own 22, before a tip tackle on Rob Webber saw him sent to the sin bin.
The impact was instantaneous as Bath went to the corner and two phases later Donald put Woodburn over unmarked in the corner for the speedster’s first try of the season.
The away pack then turned the screw at set-piece, forcing three penalties and one turnover in the scrum, and three more in the lineout.
Hazell returned but lock Tom Savage was binned seconds later. The Shed focused their anger on referee Ian Davies, but basic errors from Gloucester were keeping them pinned deep inside their half.
However with five minutes until the break Ryan Mills’ kick found space behind the Bath defence and an aggressive Charlie Sharples chase forced a penalty – their first possession inside the Bath 22.
Nigel Davies’ side backed themselves, put the ball in the corner and drove hooker Huia Edmonds over to tie the game, as the team’s went in at the interval level at 5-5.
Bath’s response arrived on 50 minutes, and it came with trademark ball-playing fluency. In the move of the match, Fearns made the initial break before linking with his backline who moved the ball through the hands for Nick Abendanon to dot down in the right corner.
Donald was again unable to convert from out wide, and after a lineout infraction by the home side, he handed the kicking duties to Sam Vesty, who knocked over a penalty to stretch the lead to 13-5 with 20 minutes to play.
Ex-Hartpury College student Matt Gilbert came off the bench to score Bath’s third, a pick and go from five metres.
This was followed minutes later by former Army Sevens player Semesa Rokoduguni, an individual effort that saw him break the first tackle and streak clear of the cover.
Donald got in on the act as well, diving over in the corner, and Vesty hit the touchline conversion to take the final score out to 32-5.