England center Ollie Lawrence was instrumental in Bath's 20-19 win over Bristol Bears in the Premiership on Friday. Lawrence scored one try and assisted in the creation of another, helping his team secure victory. Despite a valiant effort from Bristol, this defeat marked their fourth consecutive loss in the league. A penalty by Finn Russell in the 67th minute sealed the victory for Bath, with Rich Lane and Max Malins scoring tries to bring Bristol back into the game.
Bath got off to a slow start as Magnus Bradbury scored an early try for Bristol, but Bath quickly responded with two tries from Lawrence and captain Ben Spencer within minutes. The game continued at a frenetic pace, with both teams creating scoring opportunities. Bristol's Virimi Vakatawa posed a threat, but Bath's defense held firm. Despite numerous opportunities, no more points were scored before halftime, leaving Bath with a 17-7 lead.
The second half saw a more cautious approach from both teams until Bristol scored two tries in quick succession. First, Lane capitalized on a kick-pass from Callum Sheedy, followed by a spectacular counter-attack finished off by Malins. However, Bristol failed to convert either try, and Bath's Russell missed a penalty, leaving Bristol still ahead at 19-17.
Bath's hopes were raised when Malins made a handling error in his own 22, resulting in Russell kicking a penalty to take the lead. Although Bath's Spencer charged down Harry Randall's box-kick, he couldn't maintain possession. Sheedy had the opportunity to win the game for Bristol with a penalty attempt, but it fell just short.
In another Premiership match, Sale Sharks defeated Newcastle 40-22 to claim the top spot in the table. Sale's Arron Reed scored two tries, while Sam James and Tom Roebuck also contributed to the victory. The game saw a variety of exciting moments, with Ben Curry and Rob du Preez scoring tries for Sale in the first half. Despite an early lead for Newcastle, Sale's dominant scrum and solid defense secured the win.
Both matches showcased the competitiveness and skill in the Premiership, with Bath and Sale emerging as victors. These wins will undoubtedly boost their confidence as the league progresses.