Warriors suffered an agonising defeat at The Rec after another heroic performance that saw them play all but the first 75 seconds with 14 men in a match in which a number of key decisions went against them.
British and Irish Lions loosehead prop Rory Sutherland was sent off on his comeback after six weeks out with a dead leg for a head-on-head tackle on Bath tighthead prop Will Stuart.
There appeared to be some mitigation as Stuart had tried to step Sutherland but referee Craig Maxwell-Keys decided it was a straight red.
Warriors took off wing Perry Humphreys to keep an eight-man pack after Ethan Waller was needed off the bench and they went toe-to-toe with Bath until full-back Tom de Glanville went over midway through the second half to level the scores and Orlando Bailey landed the penalty that gave Bath their first win of the season 11 minutes from time.
So, instead of a first-ever win at The Rec, Warriors had to settle for a losing bonus point when tjeir ferocious defence and inventiveness in attack deserved more.
In the ‘cup final’ atmosphere predicted by Head Coach Jonathan Thomas, Warriors regrouped successfully after Sutherland’s departure and scored three excellent tries before the break through Jamie Shillcock, Joe Batley and Gareth Simpson.
But a lack of territory and possession in the second half meant Warriors spent long periods in defence and when they did put Bath under pressure with a driving maul that shunted the hosts backwards, Mr Maxwell-Keys decided to sin bin Bath’s Josh Bayliss for stopping a certain try but not to award a penalty try.
It all added up to a frustrating afternoon for Warriors but it was another performance of character in adversity.
Warriors were down to 14 men almost from the start as Sutherland received his marching orders for head-on-head tackle on Stuart.
While Stuart was being treated TMO Andrew Jackson took the opportunity to study replays of the incident and eventually brought it to the attention of the referee.
After further lengthy deliberation Sutherland was shown a red card and things got worse for Warriors as Bath kicked a penalty to touch, won the lineout and then moved the ball wide to Semesa Rokuduguni who nipped in at the corner with Orlando Bailey landing the conversion from touch.
Warriors showed their character by responding with a well-worked try five minutes later with Shillcock using Duhan van der Merwe as a decoy runner to open up a gap in Bath’s defence which he darted through.
Bath struck next when centre Max Ojomoh followed up a chip through from Jonathan Joseph. The referee’s on-field decision was ‘no try’, the television replays were inconclusive at best and Ojomoh’s look of disappointment suggested that he knew that he had not applied downward pressure on the ball over the goal line. Yet the officials decided after studying countless replays that it was a try, a decision that just about summed up Warriors’ afternoon.
Ferocious defence from Warriors repelled further Bath raids and pressure was turned into points at the other end with Simpson a key figure.
The scrum-half popped a floated pass to Batley who clattered over for a try that Smith converted from the far touchline.
A superb attack from a lineout saw Smith make ground and then unleash Simpson with a lovely inside pass.
Warriors spent most of the second period camped in their own half but solid defence repeatedly frustrated Bath until de Glanville capitalised on a penalty advantage to score in the corner.
Bailey was unable to add the conversion but the fly-half made no mistake with his 69th minute penalty and Bath held on grimly for the win.
Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys (Waller 10), 13 Francois Venter (CC), 12 Ashley Beck (Morris 62), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Niall Annett (Baldwin 59), 3 Christian Judge (Tyack 59), 4 Joe Batley, 5 Andrew Kitchener (Garvey 52), 6 Kyle Hatherell (Dodd 71), 7 Ted Hill (CC), 8 Matt Kvesic.
Replacements | 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Oli Morris, 23 Harri Doel.
3m | Rokoduguni try 5-0
4m | Bailey con 7-0
8m | Shillcock try 7-5
18m | Ojomoh try 12-5
19m | Bailey con 14-5
29m| Batley try 14-10
30m | Smith con 14-12
36m | Simpson try 14-17
37m | Smith con 14-19
57m | de Glanville try 19-19
69m | Bailey pen 22-19