Newcastle Falcons 9 Bath 22
Sam Vesty starred as Bath opened their Aviva Premiership campaign with a workmanlike 9-22 victory over Newcastle.
Bath were quickly into their stride and found themselves ahead after just eight minutes when fly-half Vesty burst through a gap in the Falcons' defence and put in wing Matt Carraro for a simple stroll under the posts. Erstwhile Leicester man Vesty successfully added the conversion as well as a 30 metre drop goal and a penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Newcastle offered little in the way of an attacking threat and once again relied on the boot of Jimmy Gopperth to keep them in touch at half-time, the former North Harbour player succeeding with three of his five penalty attempts at goal. Newcastle were unable to make much impact after the re-start and Bath edged further in front through three more Vesty penalties. The whistle of referee Martin Fox and wasteful kicking continued to frustrate the small home crowd of 3,650 and Bath always looked the more likely to score. Newcastle finally gained some field position when they were awarded a scrum 10 metres in front of Bath's posts but replacement centre James Fitzpatrick spilled possession with his first touch of the ball to let the visitors off the hook. The Falcons continue to press for a consolation score but Bath's defence held firm and Ian McGeechan's men were left to celebrate extending their unbeaten record at Kingston Park to eight games.