The Wales international booted 17 points including the conversion of Matt Banahan’s late try to put the seal on a hotly-contested derby at the Recreation Ground.
Billy Searle and Shane Geraghty kicked a penalty apiece but it was to be a disappointing return for former head coach Andy Robinson, now director of rugby at Bristol, who lead Bath to their greatest moment when they became European champions in 1998.
Bristol produced a stern defensive effort but rarely looked like preventing hosts Bath from a second win in six days in the European Rugby Challenge Cup after trailing from the seventh minute and were not helped by being briefly reduced to 13 men in the second half.
This local rivalry dates back to 1888 but this was the first meeting between these historic clubs in seven years and a crowd of 13,000 packed inside the Rec for the latest chapter.
Bristol fly-half Billy Searle made a lively start but it was opposite number Priestland who picked up where he left off against Pau last week as he kicked Bath into an early 6-0 lead.
Bristol’s scrum impressed handing full-back Jordan Williams a platform to attack while Bath had real impact in the shape of Matt Banahan and Aled Brew.
Yet neither side could find a way through two resilient defences as Searle clawed back three points before Priestland landed two more penalties, after Tom Homer missed from distance, to give the hosts a hard-fought 12-3 lead at half-time.
They came closest to extending that six minutes into the second half when a mistake by Bristol at a lineout almost let Bath in but the visitors managed to stop Banahan in his tracks close to the line.
Bristol boss Robinson turned to veteran fly-half Geraghty, signed this week from London Irish, to help steer his side back into the game and he immediately pulled back three points, thanks to the scrum.
Priestland kicked a fifth penalty after Zach Mercer burst clear and the growing pressure brought two yellow cards.
Jack Tovey was first for infringing at a ruck and Geraghty followed for a no-arms tackle on Brew, leaving Bristol with 13 men for two minutes. Tovey returned but his spill in midfield allowed Banahan to race clear for the game’s only try in the final seconds.
Having conceded 59 points and nine tires against Edinburgh on their European debut last weekend on home soil, the Saracens would have travelled with a bit of fear and trepidation given the reputation and resource of the TOP 14 side.
But they emerged with huge credit for their effort over the 80 minutes as they restricted the Parisians to four tries. They tackled themselves to a virtual stand-still and had to spend 10 minutes with 14 men in the third quarter.
Jules Plisson dummied his way over in the second minute for the first home try to launch what everyone expected to be a points fest, but it didn’t turn out that way. Morne Steyn added the conversion and then kicked a penalty
Faraj Fartass then capped his debut with a 16th minute try after being called in at the last minute to replace Julien
Arias. Steyn again supplied the conversion, but the Springbok couldn’t provide the extras to a third try from Djibril Camara midway through the first half.
Having scored at more than a point a minute in the opening 20 everyone thought there would be more of the same as the game progressed, but as the Romanians settled into the pace of the game they thwarted the home effort for long and longer periods.
The scoreline stayed at 22-0 up to half-time and Stade were only able to add one more try in the second half, through Sylvain Nicholas in the 52nd minute, even though the Saracens lost Madalin Lemnaru to the sin bin on the hour.
The replacement scrum-half made sure the Cherry and Whites kept pace with La Rochelle at the top of European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool One. His try came after efforts from Matt Scott, Lewis Ludlow and Jonny May.
Michael Tagicakibau pulled a score back after half-time, and the gutsy Italians looked as if they had held-firm, but they finally cracked.
It took Gloucester 13 minutes to get on the scoreboard as they went in search of a first home victory this season. Greig Laidlaw, who will depart for ASM Clermont Auvergne in the summer, slotted a penalty to put the Cherry and Whites 3-0 up.
The Scotland skipper added a second penalty, but the Italians were holding-firm in defence. However, Gloucester finally got the breakthrough after 26 minutes. David Humphreys’ men but the phases before moving the ball to Lewis Ludlow, who barged over the try-line to score. Laidlaw added the conversion.
Ian McKinley landed a penalty to pull three points back for Treviso, but the hosts made a statement before half-time. Outside-half Billy Burns took the ball to gain line before he sent a grubber kick through, and May raced onto it to score. Laidlaw was successful again from the tee to make it 20-3 at half-time.
But Gloucester were caught cold at the start of the second-half when Treviso flyer Tagicakibau crashed over at the corner. But normal service was resumed after 52 minutes. The ball was worked wide to Billy Twelvetrees, who combined with centre partner Scott, who crashed over. Laidlaw added the extras to make it 30-8.
And Braily was the hero of the day as he crashed over in injury time. James Hook landed the conversion to seal a 37-8 triumph.
Enisei-STM took the field with a full quota of international players in their back line, including the 95-times capped Georgian World Cup centre David Kacharava, and had two more Russians caps and an Ukranian international up front. Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones, the former Russian coach, knew his side were in for a tough time, but still felt they would come out on top.
But the Russian’s simply overpowered the Welsh region with their pick-and-go style and four of their tries came from close range. Hooker Stanislav Selskii got two of them and centre Dmitrii Gerasimov also got a brace.
It looks as though the expansion plans introduced by EPCR through their qualifying tournament for the Challenge Cup is starting to pay dividends. This was Enisei-STM’s fourth home win in five games to date.
The Dragons didn’t get off to the best of starts as outside half Angus O’Brien missed a fifth minute penalty and scrum half Charlie Davies had to be replaced by recent recruit Tavis Knoyle seven minutes later. That allowed home outside half Kushnarev to push his side ahead with a penalty of his own before the Dragons struck with the first of the game’s seven tries.
Pat Howard showed off his pace and power as he burst through the home defence to score midway through the opening period and O’Brien added the extras. Gerasimov then crossed for the first of his two tries and Kushnarev’s conversion regained the lead for the home side.
Sam Beard then rounded off some quick, clean phase play by the Dragons with a second try for the visitors, but O’Brien pushed his conversion wide. The Dragons’ lead was even shorter lived this time as they failed to deal with the re-start and were sent into the interval trailing 17-12 after Selskii drove over from close range for a try which Kushnarev once again improved.
Two successive penalties from O’Brien’s boot hoisted the Dragons into a 18-17 lead on the hour, but no sooner had they hit the front than they conceded a third try from a poor re-start reception. Selskii needed no second invitation to use his burrowing skills from close range and Kushnarev’s reliable boot made it 24-18.
The Dragons kept on playing all the rugby, but their adventure and lack of control cost them dearly in the end. The Russians finished with a flourish with further tries from Gerasimov and replacement Valery Morozov and two more Kushnarev conversions took his match tally to 13.
Going so well in the TOP 14 this season, the home side got off to a flying start with a try in the second minute from Romain Sazy. It just got better and better in a first half that saw La Rochelle race into a 36-10 interval lead.
There were four more tries to savour in a blistering first half performance that saw the home side bag the bonus point with their fourth try in the 33rd minute. Full back Charles Bouldoire picked up two of them and skipper Jason Eaton chipped in with another.
Wing Steve Barry then added the fifth on the stroke of half time to leave his side in total control. Brock James added three conversions and also kicked a penalty.
Bayonne battled to cross the home line midway through the first half when wing Martin Laveau was sent racing in for a score that Lucas Meret improved. Meret also kicked a penalty and then converted a try two minutes after the break from lock Pablo Huete that cut the gap to 19 points.
Two tries in the space of three minutes then put La Rochelle firmly back in charge on the scoreboard as replacement outside half Arthur Retiere and wing Botia Veivuke crossed for unconverted scores. Leo Cedaro then added the eighth try to bring up the half-century.
Zach Holmes picked up a yellow card with five minutes left to play and that enabled Bayonne to have the final word with a penalty try that Guillaume Rouet converted. Now La Rochelle face back to back games with Gloucester in December to determine whether or not they have got what it takes to progress.
The former European champions held out for a narrow victory that puts them back in the mix in Pool 3 while Worcester, who claimed a losing bonus point in the final seconds thanks to a try by Andy Short, left it too late after letting slip a 17-10 lead.
Brive had raced into an early ten-point lead thanks to USA international Taku Ngwenya’s early try and the boot of Thomas Laranjeira.
It could have been more but the Brive fly-half sliced his drop-goal attempt under pressure from Warriors lock Andrew Kitchener.
Short almost also went close to scoring after an interception by No8 Matt Cox but it was left to the home forwards to claw a way back into the tie, earning a penalty try after Brive pulled own a driving maul that was heading over the try line.
Tom Heathcote converted and then levelled the scores 10-10 early in the second half after Laranjeira missed with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
There was then real concern for the Warriors when Heathcote had to be carried from the pitch on a stretcher after a heavy challenge.
But Worcester had turned the tables and took the lead for the first time on 57 minutes through summer signing Te’o. Jamie Shillcock’s foot work enabled the full-back to make the initial break. Chris Pennell, in his first game of the season following injury, showed no signs of rustiness with his handling skills and Te’o powered over.
But Worcester took their eye off the ball and allowed Brive to hit back straight away through skipper Said Hireche. Replacement Nicholas Bezy missed the conversion but swiftly made amends when he was successful with a penalty that glanced off the post for a slender 18-17 lead.
Brive were reduced to 14 men for the final ten minutes when lock Jan Uys was shown a yellow card yet the French side still had enough to score next when replacement hooker Thomas Acquier went over.
Bezy held his nerve to slot over the conversion that was to prove decisive as Shillcock and Pennell combined again for Short’s last-gasp try.
Leading 31-14 at the break, with a bonus point already in the bag, it looked as though the Scottish capital side were going to romp home. But Harlequins had other ideas and hit back to lead 35-31 with 15 minutes to go.
As a pre-cursor to the European Finals Weekend in Edinburgh in May, 2017, it was a fantastic advertisement with 11 tries and 71 points. Edinburgh emerged with five points and Quins headed home with two.
There was final drama as Harlequins pushed for a matchwinning try or penalty at the end, but an Edinburgh turnover on their own line brought victory. Before the match there was an impeccably observed minute silence by the crowd of 5,326 people in the memory of Munster head coach Anthony Foley, but after that it was Harlequins who came out of the blocks fastest.
Immediate pressure on the Edinburgh line brought a five metre lineout and a half break by scrum half Karl Dickson drew the defence to allow a slick pass to put wing Charlie Walker clear to cross the line. Nick Evans converted.
Edinburgh hit straight back and there were two tries within the first four minutes, turnover ball on half way freed centre Phil Burleigh and he passed back inside for prop Allan Dell to score in the corner.
Another six minutes and Edinburgh scored again with a moment of individual brilliance by full back Blair Kinghorn taking advantage of a two on two to slice through to the corner on his own, skipping outside the despairing Evans.
Edinburgh’s third try came after 19 minutes, No 8 Nasi Manui finishing off after a break by right wing Damian Hoyland. Jason Tovey landed his first conversion.
The try scoring bonus point came within 25 minutes, again turnover ball which was run from Edinburgh’s 22 with Kinghorn giving the scoring pass to flanker Hamish Watson. Tovey added his second conversion.
Harlequins got a penalty try from a driving lineout just before the break, Evans adding the straightforward conversion, but when they tried to get another it gave Hoyland an interception and the wing went the length of the pitch for the try. Kinghorn converted as Tovey and Walker were sin-binned for a scuffle off the ball.
Harlequins needed to score early in the second half and did just that, prop Kyle Sincler finishing once Marland Yarde had been tackled short of the line. Evans added another conversion.
However Harlequins were then down to 13 men, prop Joe Marler taking out Ben Toolis in a lineout, soon cancelled out when Edinburgh captain Grant Gilchrist saw yellow just as Walker and Tovey returned to the pitch, this time for being the wrong side of a ruck.
With Marler back on the pitch, the London side took advantage with another penalty try from a driving lineout.
Tom Swiel added the conversion to bring his side back within three points.
Another period of pressure on the line put Harlequins ahead with replacement back rower Mat Luamanu barging his way over. Swiel again added the conversion. Edinburgh looked to have hit back as replacement Glenn Bryce went over in the corner, only for play to be called back for a Harlequins scrum.
However, they were not to be denied when, with a penalty coming anyway, Hoyland lofted a kick over the Quins try line which was reclaimed by left wing Brown who just got the ball down for the try with just over six minutes remaining. Tovey hit the post with the conversion as Edinburgh led by a point.
The 18-year-old finished a team attack for the first and danced through for his second before half-time before claiming his third with a near length of the field effort early in the second half.
Sam Parry then squeezed over in the final minute to clinch the bonus-point, with Sam Davies converting all four tries, to complete a perfect night for Steve Tandy’s side.
Lyon’s pack tried to ruffle Ospreys feathers, particularly as they dominated the scrum that handed Jacques Louis Potgieter an early penalty kick. But the hosts could do little to contain the Ospreys backline that bristled with ambition every time they touched the ball.
Dafydd Howells, Josh Matavesi and James King all combined to hand Giles an easy finish on 16 minutes.
Giles revelled outside Matavesi’s play but his second was all his own work, jinking past two defenders before stepping on the gas to score.
The Wales Under-20s wing proved just effective at the other end with a try-saving tackle on opposite number Henry Clunies-Ross after Potgeiter’s drop goal remarkably bounced twice along the crossbar.
It was a telling blow for the Ospreys on the stroke of half-time as Lyon failed to breach the try line despite previously going close Sami Mavinga and Curtis Browning.
Ospreys defence, spearheaded by Dan Lydiate, Lloyd Ashley and Ollie Cracknell, then set up the third as Giles scooped up a loose ball inside his own 22 and galloped clear. Davies converted to open a 24-3 lead early in the second half
Matavesi was binned for a high tackle and Curtis Browning got a pushover try for the hosts. Rory Thorton and Cracknell both lost possession over the line as Ospreys pushed for the bonus and thought it had slipped through their grasp until replacement hooker Parry went over in the last minute.
Franck Romanet barged over in the final seconds but it was too late to prevent Ospreys claiming a second bonus-point win in Pool 2.
The Falcons pack overwhelmed their visitors at Kingston Park to set up a comfortable victory and put Dean Richards’ side back into contention in Pool 2.
It took just four minutes for flanker Will Welch to power over the for the game’s opening try after Joel Hodgson turned down a shot at goal and opted to kick a penalty to the corner.
That was the perfect way for Welch to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club and was to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Alex Tait’s break almost set up Marcus Watson for a try but Tait was soon forced with an injury. His replacement Fred Burdon’s attack then led to Grenoble scrum-half Lilian Saseras being sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.
Falcons looked to hammer home the advantage and hit Grenoble with three more tries before half-time to complete an early bonus-point.
Lock Will Witty raced over, scrum-half Sonatane Takulua then snuck through from a lineout before another penalty kick t the corner set up flanker Mark Wilson for the fourth.
Hodgson kept slotting over the conversions for a 28-0 lead at the break and it soon got worse for Grenoble when centre Tino Nemani became the second player to see a yellow card, for his high tackle on Simon Hammersley early in the second half.
Ben Sowrey swiftly drove over from the back of a ruck a metre out from the line for the Falcons fifth before hooker Scott Lawson finished another driving lineout just a minute after taking the pitch as a replacement. The former Scotland international then did the same five minutes later.
Grenoble finally managed to get themselves on the scoreboard when centre Eddie Sawailau raced down the right wing to score, but the Falcons blasted to the half-century on 78 minutes when Vickers and Hodgson combined to free Watson for a score in the left corner.