Five-Try Bristol Win at The Mem
Bristol Rugby 34 - 20 Plymouth Albion
Bristol Rugby sealed a bonus point with a five-try victory over Plymouth Albion on Sunday.
Jon Goodridge, James Merriman, Marco Mama, Mariano Sambucetti and George Watkins all crossed for the hosts in a highly entertaining affair at the Memorial Stadium.
Albion responded with three tries of their own, but it wasn’t enough as Andy Robinson’s men kept their play-off hopes alive.
In bright sunshine, Bristol made their intentions clear from the start, moving the ball wide and looking to stretch the Albion defence at every opportunity.
The visitors could have gone ahead after five minutes, but Declan Cusack saw his long-range penalty attempt fade wide of the upright.
Bristol probed for an opening inside the first ten minutes with Jack Tovey almost darting clear, but it wasn’t until the quarter-hour mark that the hosts broke the deadlock.
Ben Mosses showed a blistering turn of pace to accelerate clear, before feeding Merriman in space. The Welshman drew two defenders and supplied Jon Goodridge, who waltzed over from eight metres for a converted try.
Jack Tovey came close to a second score when he was bundled into touch close to the line, but it was Plymouth who were presented with a gilt-edged opportunity after Herbie Stupple nabbed an interception, only for Aaron Carpenter to spill the pass.
Bristol pushed further ahead when James Merriman dabbed down following Ruki Tipuna’s smart grubber kick. Jarvis missed the conversion, but, minutes later, Albion were reduced to fourteen men as Lloyd Fairbrother saw yellow for a blatant professional foul.
Andy Robinson’s men took immediate advantage, capitalizing on numbers out wide as Marco Mama coasted over the whitewash. Jarvis couldn’t convert, so the score remained 17-0.
In a breathless end to the half, Plymouth’s Rhodri McAtee danced his way through, while Luke Eves rampaged seventy metres downfield, only to be thwarted by the tracking visiting defence.
Albion found a route back into the game on the stroke of half time in stunning fashion. First, Aaron Carpenter muscled his way over from close range, before Rhodri McAtee stunned the Memorial Stadium faithful with a second try moments later.
Adrian Jarvis extended the advantage with a penalty goal early in the second period and Bristol pressed for a fourth try but, despite controlling territory, couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Plymouth defence.
Bristol were almost caught out when Bevon Armitage intercepted a loose pass to hurtle downfield, but, once again, the opportunity was squandered by the visitors.
The home side’s pressure finally paid off as Mariano Sambucetti crashed over from five metres to clinch the bonus point.
Bristol all but confirmed an impressive victory when George Watkins raced over in the corner after good work from Luke Eves, while Plymouth notched a late consolation through Tom Bowen’s try.
Jon Goodridge; Jack Tovey, Luke Eves, Ben Mosses, Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna; Mark Lilley, Rhys Lawrence, Gaston Cortes, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Marco Mama.
Replacements: Tom Channon (for Rhys Lawrence, 72 mins), Bruce Douglas (for Gaston Cortes, 58 mins), Roy Winters (for Mariano Sambucetti, 67 mins), Mitch Eadie (for James Merriman, 58 mins), Callum Braley (for Ruki Tipuna, 72 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Adrian Jarvis, 72 mins), George Watkins (for Jack Tovey, 54 mins).
Rhodri McAtee; Lewis Warner, Paul Bailey, Bevon Armitage, Tom Bowen; Declan Cusack, Ruairi Cushion (c); Ben Rogers, Jon Vickers, Lloyd Fairbrother, Brett Beukeboom, Sean-Michael Stephen, Herbie Stupple, Sam Matavesi, Aaron Carpenter.
Replacements: Paul Rowley (for Ruairi Cushion, 72 mins), Paul Roberts, Ien Ascroft-Leigh (for Sean Michael-Stephen, 64 mins), David Morton (for Ben Rogers, 59 mins), Sam Hocking (for Herbie Stupple, 64 mins), Tom Cowan-Dickie (for Jon Vickers, 58 mins), Louis Messer (for Bevon Armitage, 80 mins).
Referee: Luke Pearce