Five Star Bristol Keep Hopes Alive
London Scottish 19 - 38 Bristol Rugby
Bristol Rugby sealed a valuable bonus point, scoring five tries to defeat London Scottish at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday.
Andy Robinson’s men moved into the play-off places at the expense of Bedford Blues, as Mariano Sambucetti, James Merriman (2) and Jon Goodridge (2) all crossed.
Bristol travel to Newcastle Falcons on the final day of the regular season, needing a win to stand any hope of securing a spot in the RFU Championship top four.
The Exiles started strongly, putting pressure on Bristol in attack and winning an early penalty opportunity, which James Love skewed short of the target.
But it was Bristol who opened the scoring on the ten-minute mark as Mariano Sambucetti showed acceleration to muscle his way over for a converted try.
Andy Robinson’s men doubled their lead when George Watkins and James Merriman combined neatly for the flanker to race across the whitewash. Jarvis slotted the extras to put the visitors in command at 0-14.
James Love missed another penalty goal chance on the half hour, before Marco Mama came within inches of a third score, only to be held up over the whitewash.
London Scottish finished the first half strongly and found a route back into the game when Jim Thompson rounded off a flowing backline move to touch down. Love couldn’t convert and, despite the home side surging forward in the closing stages, Bristol defended stoutly to go in ahead at the interval.
The visitors sparked quickly into life in the second period, crossing for a third try shortly after the restart. The ever-impressive Adrian Jarvis found a gap between two defenders to scythe through, before feeding Fautua Otto who put Jon Goodridge over to score.
The fly half struck the extras superbly, but London Scottish hit back almost immediately with a converted try of their own, courtesy of replacement Simon Whatling.
The centre collected an intelligent grubber kick through to dab down, reducing the arrears to 12-21.
Jarvis extended the advantage to 12-24 with a long range three-pointer, before Bristol notched two tries in quick succession.
First, Jon Goodridge capitalized on a three-man overlap to canter in under the posts, before James Merriman touched down for his second try of the afternoon after a stunning solo break from Fautua Otto.
Miles Mantella responded for London Scottish with a pacy fifty-metre effort, but it was scant consolation as Bristol recorded a crucial bonus-point win to keep pace with the RFU Championship top four.
Jim Thompson; James Love, Oli Grove, Andy Reay, Miles Mantella; Phil Godman, Jamie Stevenson; Mark Irish, Adam Kwasnicki, Eric Fry, Paul Spivey, Tyler Hotson, Chevvy Pennycook, Lewis Calder, Mark Bright (c).
Replacements: Nic Mayhew (for Mark Irish, 60 mins), Harry Allen (for Adam Kwasnicki, 23 mins), Colin Quigley (for Eric Fry, 68 mins), Josh Thomas Brown (for Tyler Hotson, 65 mins), Tommy Spinks (for Lewis Calder, 60 mins), Richard Bolt (for Andy Reay, 72 mins), Simon Whatling (for Oli Grove, 44 mins).
Jon Goodridge; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Redford Pennycook, James Merriman, Marco Mama.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence (for Ross Johnston, 65 mins), Bruce Douglas (for Kyle Traynor, 68 mins) Roy Winters (for Mariano Sambucetti, 68 mins) Iain Grieve (for Redford Pennycook, 63 mins), James Grindal (for Ruki Tipuna, 68 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Adrian Jarvis, 68 mins), Jack Tovey (for Ryan Edwards, 54 mins).
Referee: Darren Gamage