Northampton moved up to third in the Premiership after beating Bath in front of a sold-out Christmas Eve crowd at Franklin's Gardens.
Stand-off Ryan Lamb was the pick of a Saints side which dominated the first-half, scoring tries through Phil Dowson, Tom Wood and Jamie Elliott, two of which Lamb converted.
Bath improved after the break, and after referee David Rose had sin-binned Northampton's Samu Manoa and James Downey, the visitors' pack sent captain Francois Louw over for a push-over try. Even with 13 men Northampton almost responded with a try of their own, but the diving George Pisi just failed to reach Lamb's chip-kick.
Captain Dylan Hartley said the Saints were not disappointed with failing to pick up a bonus point win. "We've got to be more clinical, but otherwise we're pretty happy with the result at the start of a tough series of games," said Hartley. Bath, who remain in tenth, will take some encouragement from their second-half effort, but it is now just one win in eight matches for the west country team.
Northampton Saints: Foden, Artemyev, Pisi, Downey, Elliott: Lamb (Myler 76), Dickson: Tonga'uiha (Waller 60), Hartley Haywood 75), Doran-Jones (Mercey 55), Lawes (Manoa 60), Sorenson, Dowson, Wood, Wilson.
Reps not used: Nutley, Roberts, Armstrong.
Bath Rugby: Abendanon, Cuthbert, Williams (Scott 52), Barkley (Heathcote 69), Banahan: Donald, Claassens: Flatman (Catt 41), Batty, Wilson, Attwood, Caldwell, Beattie (Ovens 73), Mercer, Louw.
Reps not used: Biller, Perenise, Spencer, Cook..
Yellow cards: Abendanon (31-41), Donald (47-57), Manoa (61-71), Downey (63-73)
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © shimgray
Have something to tell us about this article?