A try from Joe Cokanasiga three minutes from time denied Newcastle Falcons a Gallagher Premiership victory on Saturday at Kingston Park Stadium.
Newcastle led 18-11 at half-time and began the game at pace, scoring their first try after just five minutes - co-captain Connor Collett winning a jackal penalty which was kicked into touch 20 metres out.
A devastating catch-and-drive saw the home pack rumbling over from the set-piece, with the maul marching all the way to the right corner where George McGuigan grounded the ball.
Bath responded with a simple penalty from in front of the posts as Danny Cipriani got them off the mark on 11 minutes – Newcastle restoring their five-point buffer when Will Haydon-Wood did likewise from similar range.
Parity was restored around the quarter mark when Bath lock Ewan Richards collected a long, looping pass to crash over in the left corner, but the Falcons regained their lead around the half-hour when co-captain Collett wriggled over from close range.
Haydon-Wood added the extras, and handed his side a ten-point lead when he sent over a penalty from 25 metres out in front, having been on the receiving end of a high tackle from Danny Cipriani.
Cipriani made amends by slotting a penalty of his own with the very last kick of the opening 40, cutting the Falcons’ half-time lead to 18-11.
And the visitors were within a whisker of the first score after the interval, when Ben Spencer spilled a Nathan Hughes offload with the try-line begging.
The West Country side were more ruthless on 51 minutes when presented with another scoring opportunity, kicking a penalty to the right corner, from where Lewis Boyce scored a converted try from a close-range pick and go.
Cipriani added the extras to draw the teams level, but Bath were reduced to 14 men around the hour mark when Nathan Hughes was sin-binned for a high tackle on Pete Lucock.
The extra man told almost immediately, with the Falcons turning down a kickable penalty and getting their rewards when Greg Peterson crashed over for a converted try from a pick-and-go to the left of the posts.
Bath responded rapidly with replacement wing Joe Cokanasiga scoring in the right corner from a Tom de Glanville break, although the missed conversion from Cipriani left Newcastle in front by two points going into the closing 15 minutes.
That margin stood in tact until three minutes from time, when a series of five-metre scrums eventually saw the ball worked to the right for Cokanasiga to score the game’s decisive try.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Penny (co-captain), 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Matias Orlando (Pete Lucock, 28), 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti (Louis Schreuder, 51); 1 Trevor Davison (Adam Brocklebank, 54), 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 54), 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Connor Collett (co-captain), 8 Gary Graham.
Scorers – Tries: George McGuigan, Connor Collett, Greg Peterson. Conversions: Will Haydon-Wood 2. Penalties: Will Haydon-Wood 2.
Bath Rugby: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Will Butt (Joe Cokanasiga, 54), 13 Max Clark, 12 Max Ojomoh (Jonathan Joseph, 61), 11 Will Muir, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Valery Morozov (Lewis Boyce, 49), 2 Jacques du Toit (Tom Doughty, 49), 3 D’Arcy Rae, 4 Mike Williams, 5 Ewan Richards (Will Spencer, 60), 6 Josh Bayliss, 7 Miles Reid (captain), 8 Nathan Hughes
Scorers – Tries: Ewan Richards, Lewis Boyce, Joe Cokanasiga 2. Conversions: Danny Cipriani 2. Penalties: Danny Cipriani 2.
Referee: Adam Leal. Attendance: 6,213.
Brown, Penny, Wacokecoke, Orlando, Radwan, Haydon-Wood, Nordli-Kelemeti, Davison, McGuigan, Tampin, Peterson, Robinson, Basham, Collett, Graham
Replacements Blamire, Brocklebank, Palframan, Farrar, Montgomery, Schreuder, Connon, Lucock
de Glanville, Butt, Clark, Ojomoh, Muir, Cipriani, Spencer, Morozov, du Toit, Rae, Williams, Richards, Bayliss, Reid, Hughes
Replacements Doughty, Boyce, Fia, Spencer, de Carpentier, Simpson, Joseph, Cokanasiga
referee: Adam Leal
assistant: Neil Chivers
assistant: Jamie Leahy
TMO: Dean Richards