Bath probably ended Sale Sharks’ faint hopes of an Aviva Premiership play-off place following a 32-26 triumph at the Rec
The hosts dominated the first half and led 17-0 thanks to early Ollie Devoto and Charlie Ewels tries
Late tries from TJ Ioane and Brian Mujati ensured Sharks got two points despite defeat
Sale Sharks’ faint chances of a play-off spot were dented as they lost their game in hand at an improved Bath.
Mike Ford’s men have struggled throughout the campaign but they were superb against the Manchester outfit in the first half, taking a deserved 17-0 advantage into the interval.
Ollie Devoto and Charlie Ewels both went over, while George Ford hinted at a return to form with seven points from the boot.
Johnny Leota and Andrei Ostrikov touchdowns brought the Sharks back into contention in the second period, but a further Ford three-pointer and tries from Semesa Rokoduguni and Will Homer secured the bonus-point win.
Despite going down to their first league defeat in four, the visitors did rescue two points of their own when TJ Ioane and Leota crossed the whitewash late on.
Sale move above Northampton into fifth and are six points behind fourth-placed Leicester while bath remain ninth, three points below eighth-placed Gloucester with two matches remaining.
Bath: 15 Rhys Priestland, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 David Denton, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Levi Douglas, 21 Will Homer, 22 Max Clark, 23 Jeff Williams
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Brady
Date: Saturday, April 23
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 BST (14:15 GMT)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Paul