Relegation to Premiership Two in 1998 after a play-off defeat at the hands of London Scottish was not the worst of Bristol's problems. Only an eleventh hour rescue by Malcolm Pearce saved the Club from potential oblivion.
Even then Bob Dwyer, newly appointed as Director of Rugby, had just twenty two days to prepare a squad for the opening game of the season at Exeter in which eight players made their debut, and victory that afternoon by 22-15 was the first of seven successive league wins.
Bristol's first season outside the top flight brought with it a number of first-time visits to Clubs. One such was Rotherham, a visit that Bristol will want to forget, as it tasted its first defeat of the season by a
16-5 margin. But three more league victories were chalked up before the next defeat, going down 20-9 at Worcester in December.
The signing of Luke Nabaro (left) looked a shrewd move, as he scored five tries in a 50-17 victory over Blackheath. The flying wing went on to score thirteen tries in six games by the end of the season. Two tries, from Nabaro and the newly recruited Cambridge Blue centre Mark Robinson, during six minutes of injury time on the Club's first ever visit to Fylde meant that Bristol snatched a crucial 43-39 victory to stay top of the table.
It helped to set up a memorable last Saturday of the season when Rotherham went to the top of the table with a 27-0 victory at home to Moseley -they led by two points.
More than seven thousand fans packed the Memorial Stadium hoping for victory over Worcester, and tries from flanker Christian Evans and lock Chad Eagle, plus a conversion and three penalties from full back Michael Horak secured a famous 22-11 victory that secured the Championship and promotion back to Premiership One.
In the Tetley Bitter Cup, Bristol ran in nine tries in their 55-0 demolition of Jewson Two North side Sandal in the third round, only to fall at the next hurdle 43-19 to London Irish.
In the Cheltenham & Gloucester Cup, Bristol won 66-17 at home to Wakefield, and 35-24 at College Grove to progress to the second round, only for a below strength side to lose 50-3 at home to Northampton.