Sunday, 7 September 2014

FULL-TIME: Bristol Rugby 23 Worcester Warriors 19

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BEN Mosses scored from the last move of the match to ensure Bristol’s GKIPA Championship campaign – and their new life at Ashton Gate – got off to a winning start in dramatic fashion.

Bristol had trailed until David Lemi – making his Bristol return after five years away – scored a late try against his previous club to see the hosts into an 18-16 lead.

But Ignacio Mieres’ penalty – with around 90 seconds left on the clock – gave Worcester a 19-18 advantage and one they did not look like surrendering.

Bristol replacements Ross Johnston and Gareth Maule, however, had other ideas, combining down the left, with hooker Johnston bursting clear and setting up Mosses to dive over and win the match.

In front of a crowd of 8,549 – a record Championship attendance outside play-off matches – Bristol not only sent a statement to the side widely perceived to be their main challengers for promotion to the Aviva Premiership, they got life at Ashton Gate off to a dream start.

Earlier, Bristol had to be alert in defence time and time again – particular in the first quarter – as Worcester came at them repeatedly. Indeed, Bristol did not get out of their own half until the 11th minute – and even that was a brief foray before they were again forced onto the defensive.

To that end, Worcester must have been frustrated that they led only 10-3 at half-time. After Mieres’ 15th-minute penalty gave them the lead, they scored the first try when, after Sam Smith had twice gone close out wide, Mike Williams smashed his way over from close range.

Williams then saw yellow for taking out his man off the ball – and, after kicking to touch and winning another penalty, Matthew Morgan knocked over the penalty from in front of the posts to get Bristol on the scoreboard at half-time.

Bristol stepped up several gears in the second period, Short scoring against his hometown and former club three minutes after the restart, powering past Chris Pennell after gathering Morgan’s perfect cross-field kick.

Another Mieres penalty edged Worcester further in front at 13-8, only for a Morgan penalty to cut that led back to two points. Bristol survived a seven-minute period of scrum after scrum close to their own line, before Mieres restored Worcester’s five-point cushion with another penalty.

But, from a line-out, Craig Hampson and Adrian Jarvis interchanged superbly, with Lemi running a smart inside line to take possession and dive over, with Morgan’s penalty making it 18-16.

Mieres appeared to have grabbed victory for the visitors – only for Mosses’ late intervention to stun Worcester and cap a thrilling Ashton Gate bow for Bristol. 

Bristol: J Wallace (A Jarvis 68); A Short, J Tovey, B Mosses, D Lemi (G Maule 80); M Morgan, D Peel (capt; C Hampson 55); J O’Connell (J Hall 68), M Crumpton (R Johnston 80), A Perenise, I Evans, M Sorenson, M Mama, J Lam, M Eadie. Reps not used: G Townson, B Skirving.

Scorers: Tries – Short, Lemi, Mosses. Con – Morgan. Pens – Morgan (2).

Worcester Warriors: C Pennell (capt); S Smith, A Grove, A Symons, T Biggs; I Mieres, J Arr (C Mulchrone 64); R Bower, D George (N Annett 53), N Schonert (M Daniels 72), J Percival, D Sanderson (C Scotland-Williamson 68), M Williams, S Betty, M Cox. Reps not used: R de Carpentier, T Eden, M Stelling.

Scorers: Try – Williams. Con – Mieres. Pens – Mieres (4).

Sin-binned: Williams (36-41, dangerous tackle).

Referee: M Carley. Att: 8,549.

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FULL-TIME: Bristol Rugby 23 Worcester Warriors 19

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