Sale 7-19 Bath, Aviva Premiership, February 11
Meehan heaps praise on victorious Bath
ESPNscrum Staff
February 11, 2011
Bath's Olly Barkley slots a kick against Sale, Sale Sharks v Bath, Aviva Premiership, Edgeley Park, Stockport, England, February 11, 2011
Bath's Olly Barkley slots a kick during his side's victory over Sale at Edgeley Park © Getty Images

Bath head coach Steve Meehan was full of praise for his side after they made it six wins in seven matches since the start of the year with a 19-7 victory over Sale at Edgeley Park.

Nick Abendanon, one of 12 players released from the England squad back to their club earlier this week, scampered over from close range in the 34th minute and Olly Barkley weighed in a conversion and four penalties to see off their Premiership rivals.

"That's six out of seven wins since the start of the year, and three on the bounce in the Premiership which is obviously very important," declared Meehan. "The teams that are sitting just above us will feel us now and know that there is pressure coming through. It's a much happier camp now, not that the morale was ever low, but it's a squad that has found it way."

Bath were consummately professional and ruthlessly efficient in conditions made difficult owing to incessant drizzle. Meehan also reserved special praise for playmaker Barkley, who enjoyed a fine game and was flawless with his kicking.

"Olly kicked very well for his goals and he kicked very well out of hand as well," added Meehan. "His boot was not as reliable in the first half of the season but he has found his mojo and he's kicking well."

Sale, whose relegation fears were reawakened by this defeat, lacked nothing in spirit and fashioned a well-worked score from former England wing Ben Cohen shortly before half-time. Yet despite the presence of Charlie Hodgson they lacked the guile to overturn Bath's 13-7 lead after the restart and also suffered two first-half injury blows as prop Lee Imiolek hobbled off and wing Rhys Crane was carried off on a stretcher.

Head coach Pete Anglesea said, "We showed a lot of spirit and our young lads will learn a lot from this. It was a lesson in how to play in weather like that. You have to build a score and I thought Bath were really disciplined. But there were positives for us. We kept fighting to the end and showed a lot of spirit."

On his two injured men, Anglesea added: "Lee Imiolek took a bang on the hip and Rhys Crane got taken off on a stretcher but we don't know how serious it is yet."

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