Premiership: Sale 19-13 Bath
SALE (16) 19
- Cipriani 3
- Drop goal:
BATH (10) 13
- Ford 2
Danny Cipriani kicked 14 points as Sale Sharks secured their third victory of the season by beating Bath.
Bath's Semesa Rokoduguni scored the game's first try as he used his power and speed to go over.
Sale hit back as Andy Forsyth's score, helped by 11 points from the boot of Cipriani, saw them open up a six-point half-time lead.
Cipriani added another penalty in a low-scoring second half as Sale moved up to fifth in the Premiership.
Bath took a losing bonus point from the game and remain fourth in the table.
Cipriani missed the first attempt of the night, putting his kick across the face of the goalposts, with George Ford hooking his effort wide moments later at the other end.
But his Sale counterpart was more accurate with a drop-goal attempt from in front of the posts, although the hosts' lead was short-lived.
After Bath won a line-out, Peter Stringer's quick thinking sent second-year professional Rokoduguni free to power over the line, with Ford adding the extras.
Replacement Alafoti Fa'osiliva waltzed through Sale from a line-out and thought he had grabbed the visitors second try but, after adjudication from the television match official, was adjudged to have put his foot in touch.
Cipriani closed the gap to a point with a penalty and then added the conversion when a driving play from a line-out saw Mark Cueto set up Forsyth in the corner.
Ford's penalty reduced the arrears but again his opposite number responded immediately to ensure Sale went in to the break leading 16-10.
Cipriani scored the first points of the second half with a kick from 48 metres, while Ford missed his first attempt after the interval, before quickly making amends with a kick from close range.
Michael Paterson was sin-binned but Sale held firm for the 10 minutes offering very little to the visitors, who had won three of their previous four matches.
Ford missed again to continue his frustrating night, while Cipriani's long-range attempt shortly after just failed to find the target for Bath.
Joe Ford, brother of George and on as a replacement, had a chance to deny Bath a losing bonus point but his late kick hit the right-hand post.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"It was a good all-round performance. In the first half we dodged a bullet really when they didn't score that second try and I think the game could have changed there, but we managed to get away with it.
"Then we got back into the game in the first half and turned around 16-10 in front and we were confident at half-time.
"Defensively in the second half, we went down to 14 men, but the likes of (Tommy) Taylor, (Dan) Braid, (Dave) Seymour and Paterson killed them at the breakdown legally."
Bath head coach Mike Ford:
"We didn't play well but credit to Sale, I thought they played particularly well. The breakdown was an issue for us, they were pretty ferocious in that area and got on top.
"It's hard to go away from home, lose that breakdown and also the drive. It's two fundamental parts of the game that they were on top of.
"This is a long journey for us, no trophies are handed out tonight but we'll take our medicine, get back on Monday and make sure we get better."
Sale: Miller; McKenzie, Forsyth, Leota, Cueto; Cipriani, Peel; Lewis-Roberts, Taylor, Cobilas, Mills, Paterson, Braid (capt), Seymour, Easter.
Replacements: Tuitupou for Forsyth (51), Ford for Cipriani (76), Harrison for Lewis-Roberts (60), Jones for Taylor (64), Thomas for Cobilas (57), Kulemin for J. Mills (71). Not Used: Ostrikov, Cliff.
Sin Bin: Paterson (59)
Bath: Devoto; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Biggs; Ford, Stringer; James, Batty, Wilson, Hooper (capt), Spencer, Garvey, Mercer, Houston.
Replacements: Henson for Devoto (72), Williams for Biggs (77), Roberts for Stringer (67), Perenise for Wilson (68), Fearns for Mercer (50), Faosiliva for Houston (14). Not Used: Dunn, Palma-Newport.
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU).