Ashton at the double on Saracens return


Chris Ashton marked his comeback with two tries as reigning Premiership champions Saracens extended their lead at the top of the table with a 30-10 victory over ill-disciplined Bath on Friday.

Having benefited from the return of several international stars for last weekend's vital victory over Exeter Chiefs, Saracens were able to recall Ashton at the Rec - the wing having completed a 10-week suspension, which ruled him out of England's triumphant Six Nations campaign, for contact with an opponent's eye.

Tries from Will Fraser and Mike Ellery, together with two Owen Farrell penalties, enabled Mark McCall's men to open up a healthy advantage in the first half, with a three-pointer from George Ford Bath's only response.

Any hopes of a Bath recovery were effectively ended in the 50th minute when Anthony Watson was sent off for taking out fellow England back Alex Goode in the air.

The hosts were temporarily reduced to 13 men as a spear tackle from Chris Cook led to the Bath scrum-half being sin-binned, and Saracens swiftly capitalised through Ashton.

Bath showed tremendous spirit to reduce their arrears through Leroy Houston while still two men short, but Ashton then went over again with 11 minutes remaining to earn a bonus point for his side.

Saracens now lead Exeter by eight points, although the latter will be expected to claim victory at home to Worcester Warriors on Saturday.