BATH boss Todd Blackadder saluted the character of his players after they almost pulled off a stunning Gallagher Premiership victory over west country rivals Gloucester.

Gloucester were cruising at 21-0 ahead just before half-time at the Recreation Ground, but Bath wiped out that advantage during a pulsating second period and led by seven points in the closing stages.

But Matt Banahan denied his former Bath team-mates glory as his late converted try secured Gloucester a 31-31 draw.

Ex-England wing Banahan, who joined Gloucester this summer following a Bath career that saw him make more than 250 appearances and score 100 tries, struck two minutes from time, with Billy Twelvetrees' conversion ensuring the points were shared.

"I thought Gloucester played really well, and at 21-0 down it was a real character test for our players," Bath rugby director Blackadder said.

"They had to dig deep to come back and put us in a position to win it, so I am really proud of them.

"There was no rollocking at half time, it was just focusing on what we needed to do to get ourselves back in the game, and the boys went out and did that.

"If anything, it has created more self-belief for us. We know it wasn't the complete performance, but a hell of a lot of self-belief will come out of that.

"You can always come back. It's the mindset and the players, and it came from the players."

Hooker Tom Dunn scored two tries for Bath, while wing Semesa Rokoduguni, who scored while a vehicle fire was being extinguished beyond one corner of the ground and a black plume of smoke filled the air, and substitute lock Elliott Stooke also crossed.

Freddie Burns, meanwhile, kicked two conversions and Rhys Priestland added two conversions and a penalty.

Banahan, flanker Ruan Ackermann, who crossed twice, and Callum Braley claimed Gloucester touchdowns, while Twelvetrees booted all four conversions and a penalty.

And there was a second successive man-of-the-match performance by Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani, who again excelled in front of watching England head coach Eddie Jones.

The game, though, was delayed for around 10 minutes in the second half while Gloucester's former England wing Charlie Sharples received treatment following an attempted tackle on his opposite number Joe Cokanasiga before being carried off.

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann said: "We hope that everyone will be fine. I haven't got a full report on Charlie at this stage.

"Both teams showed a lot of character. We played some good rugby, and we showed character at the end.

"We need to be more clinical and more accurate when we put ourselves in the position we did with a 21-point lead.

"You can look at is as a disappointment, the fact we couldn't go and get at least another 10 or 12 points in the second half and put the game away, but the reality of this competition is that teams will always come back at you.

"Matt was close in the first half to a try, and I am glad for him he got his try. It's a collective effort, and we will take heart out of this performance away from home.

"We showed in the first half if we play the rugby we want to play, we can cause teams problems. It's just that consistency."