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Saints 27 - 26 Bath: Ribbans snatches last-gasp Northampton victory

David Ribbans' try at the death saw Northampton Saints record a seventh consecutive win at home, as the men in Black, Green and Gold snatched a 27-26 victory over Bath in the Gallagher Premiership.

Saints started quickly and James Grayson’s boot put the home side in front before a Ruaridh McConnochie’s try handed Bath the lead which Rhys Priestland extended after the break.

The second-half saw tries from Northampton’s Rory Hutchinson, Bath’s Zach Mercer and Saints scrum-half Alex Mitchell to level the scores, but after Priestland’s boot put Bath in front, Ribbans' heroics as the Gardens held its breath allowed Grayson to convert and win the match.

Saints began the match on top immediately with Mitchell making a break and Piers Francis crossing the try line; however referee Ian Tempest deemed the score to be held up.

The men in Black, Green and Gold continued to exert pressure and with three minutes on the clock, Ribbans believed he had scored but the try was again adjudged to have been held up by the TMO.

Northampton came close once more under the posts but handling errors put that to rest as Bath cleared their lines and began to grow into the game.

The visitors made progress up the field and into Northampton’s 22 but Saints defended well to prevent them from scoring.

Grayson put the hosts ahead in the 16th minute with a successful penalty kick from 45 metres after Bath collapsed the scrum.

But Bath scored the first try of the match in the 29th minute when Priestland combined with McConnochie for the winger to score on the right flank; Priestland added the extras to give Bath a 7-3 lead.

Northampton remained resilient and stopped Bath from scoring again but were unable to click in attack as they have done in recent weeks as the score remained 3-7 at half-time.

After the break, Saints conceded a penalty at the scrum and Priestland duly kicked the three points to extend Bath’s advantage.

With 45 minutes on the clock, Northampton’s Hutchinson scored his third try of the season in the right-hand corner while Grayson added the conversion to level the match at 10-10.

However, Bath hit back straight away as Mercer broke through a gap in the 22 to score their second try with Priestland adding the extras.  

Saints reduced the deficit to 13-17 through Grayson’s boot after they received a penalty at the scrum before Priestland restored Bath’s advantage with a penalty of his own.

Yet soon after, Northampton levelled the scores at 20-20 when Mitchell dashed through a gap to touch down under the posts and Grayson added the conversion.

Bath re-established their advantage through the boot of Priestland to 26-20 after the fly-half successfully kicked two penalties, but with the hosts within a score the stage was set for a grandstand finish in front of a packed Franklin's Gardens.

And Saints continued to pile on the pressure in the final minutes, building the phases before Bath were pinged for offisde and Ribbans bravely took a tap-and-go to bulldoze his way over the line with Grayson maintaining his 100% kicking record on the day to win a rollercoaster match.

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