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By Tom Garry
BBC Sport at Ashton Gate
Bristol Bears opened the Premiership season with a pounding seven-try win over local rivals Bath at a crowded Ashton Gate.
Luke Morahan and Nathan Hughes crossed for Bristol however Zach Mercer hit for Bath.
Mat Protheroe place the Bears 17-13 up right on half-time along with his pace helped Piers OConor expand the lead.
Ioan Lloyd, john Afoa and Morahan again assured his very first league match was missing by Stuart Hooper as Bath director of rugby.
Toilet were defeated at 17-10 in the season-opener of last year on the exact same ground and they abandoned Ashton Gate disappointed falling late after Lewis Boyce was sent to the bin.
The hosts showed form in the first quarter-hour and led inside two moments, with giant variety eight Hughes also adding the next attempt after the dart of Kiwi Charles Piutau during the Bath defence and impressing on his team debut.
Mercers attempt and rhys Priestlands boot gave the people a guide, but hands and fast feet from the hosts saw them recover the benefit.
The Bears, who finished last season, raced away including three attempts in the final 13 minutes.
Toilet, who finished final term and level on points with fourth place, gave a first Premiership start to wing Levi Davis, whos starring in ITVs X Factor Celebrity.
Nevertheless, it was a Bristol kid who had a debut to remember – after coming from the substitutes bench -18-Lloyd crossed for a test.
This hotly-anticipated West Country derby saw Ashton Gates largest audience for a sporting fixture since its redevelopment concluded in 2016, exceeding what Championship football team Bristol City – who share the place with all the Bears – have managed to attain because house and off rugby fans arent segregated.
And the 26,399 in attendance were treated to a blistering rugby in the home side.
Having finished only five points away from a play-off spot term within their very first effort back in the upper tier, the Bears have begun 2019-20 using a statement functionality that highlighted their aspirations to perform with Champions Cup rugby and compete for silverware.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan, OConor, Hurrell, Protheroe; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore, Thacker, Afoa, Attwood, Joyce, Luatua (c), D Thomas, Hughes.
Replacements: Malton, Y Thomas, Lahiff, Vui Randall, Lloyd, Leiua.
Bath: Homer; Brew, Clark, Wright, Davis; Priestland, Chudley; Obano, Dunn, Judge, McNally, Ewels (c), Williams, Ellis, Mercer.
Replacements: Walker Stuart Bayliss Burns, Roberts.
Sin-bin: Boyce (65 mins)
Attendance: 26,399

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