Bath turn on the style to sweep aside Newcastle
Bath are quickly leaving last season's troubles behind them after following up last week's rare win at Northampton with an eight-try thrashing of Newcastle at the Recreation Ground.
It was all smiles among the Kiwi coaching duo of Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson sitting in the new West Stand at the Recreation Ground as Bath secured the try bonus point before half-time, during a 58-5 victory.
A penalty try was followed by others from Matt Banahan, Semesa Rokoduguni (2), Kane Palma-Newport, Dave Attwood (2), and new signing from Gloucester, Elliott Stooke.
Skipper George Ford kicked 18 points, including six conversions, in a near-impeccable all-round performance.
The England fly-half had opened the scoring with a 14th-minute penalty after Rokoduguni countered powerfully from his own 22.
Bath's powerful carrying then presented the Bath fly-half with a gift-wrapped drop-goal opportunity to make it 6-0 on 22 minutes but he pushed a penalty attempt wide soon afterwards.
With the home side's scrum dominant and Ford's touch-finders inch-perfect, two tries in three minutes around the half-hour swung matters even more decisively.
First Rokoduguni fielded a ball on his own 22 and, rather than kicking it back, set off on another explosive run.
His chip and chase seemed inconclusive as the ball bounced awkwardly between competing players before rolling over the dead-ball line. But advice from the TMO led referee Ian Tempest to award a penalty try and send Newcastle wing Vereniki Goneva to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.
There was controversy too about Bath's second try as Kahn Fotuali'i combined with Banahan on the blindside of a scrum and was on hand again to chip over into open space. Newcastle were claiming a Bath knock-on as Banahan judged the bounce to give Ford another easy conversion for 20-0.
The irrepressible Rokoduguni then added two tries himself before the break, both straightforward finishes in the corner after Newcastle were run off their feet. Ford was wide with the second conversion but Bath's half-time lead was still a daunting 32-0, with the try bonus point in the bag.
There was no let-up after the break as tighthead Palma-Newport finished off a bullocking run by Banahan, and Attwood forced his way over in the corner for try number six.
Both scrum-half Fotuali'i and Jonathan Joseph departed to ovations after five-star performances but Rhys Priestland's appearance off the bench was a brief one as he soon limped off again.
Attwood set the scoreboard ticking again, smashing through from a tapped penalty, and Ford's fifth conversion brought up the half-century.
Ally Hogg finally put Newcastle on the scoreboard but Bath had the last word through Stooke.