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Gavin Henson delighted to fire Bristol past former club Bath

Gavin Henson was delighted that his "big performance" gained some reward following Bristol's shock 12-11 victory over Bath on his return to the starting line-up after injury.

Henson had been missing from the starting line-up since October with a shoulder injury but his 12 points - three penalties and a well-struck drop goal - gave Bristol a huge boost in their fight against relegation.

Following his man-of-the-match performance at Ashton Gate on Sunday, Henson said: "I was really guilty at being out so long and I felt I needed a big performance.

"It was always my aim to get back for this game but I was really nervous beforehand as I had to play against my former club after such a long absence.

"It's been tough being out for so long and I become a loner when I'm injured but I was tired from the first minute and was hoping for my second wind but it didn't come.

"People were writing us off after two heavy defeats so it's a great feeling but it means nothing if we can't back it up at Worcester next week."

Despite the win, Bristol remain at the foot of the Premiership table but have reduced the gap to Worcester to only two points so next Sunday's clash between the sides appears crucial.

Bristol's interim head coach Mark Tainton accepted this and said: "It will be a massive challenge as Worcester are difficult to beat at home and there are plenty of things still to work on.

"Our defensive effort was massive and to beat our neighbours was fantastic as we stood up to them but the fight against relegation will go all the way to the end.

"Gavin will be sore after his comeback but he controlled the game as he was accurate with both his place kicking and line-kicking.

"He's a confidence player and grew into the game. He's a big man so he threatens the defence before releasing good off-loads and pop-up passes."

Faced with a heroic defensive effort from Bristol, Bath were out of sorts but still should have won as they failed to take a number of chances with their only points coming from an interception try from Semesa Rokoduguni and two Rhys Priestland penalties.

Bath coach Todd Blackadder said: "We beat ourselves as we didn't hold on to the ball enough and had plenty of opportunities to win.

"The breakdown was messy where they did a good job at slowing us down but there are no excuses as Bristol showed real tenacity and never stopped believing."

Bath flanker David Denton agreed with his boss, saying: "We left a lot out there for we were camped in their 22 but came away with nothing.

"We've got a deep squad so we can't make any excuses about absentees as everyone else is in the same position but after losing today, next week's home game against Wasps is now a must-win game if we are to remain in the top four."

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