Winning Run Ended At The Kassam
London Welsh 22-7 Bristol Rugby
Bristol Rugby fell to a first defeat since the opening day of the season, going down 22-7 to league leaders London Welsh on Sunday.
In a scrappy affair at the Kassam Stadium, Andy Robinson’s men couldn’t turn their pressure into points, although Ross Johnston did rumble over during the first period.
London Welsh controlled the opening exchanges and went in front when Alex Davies dabbed down for a converted try after seven minutes. Bristol lost a scrum against the head and were punished by Davies’ incisive finish.
The Exiles should have gone further ahead minutes later after Gordon Ross had scythed through an opening, but – with the touchline gaping - the final pass went awry and the opportunity was lost.
After a spell of attacking pressure, Bristol leveled proceedings courtesy of Ross Johnston’s close-range effort. The hooker finished off a well-worked driving lineout, while Nicky Robinson’s angled conversion brought the score to 7-7.
London Welsh regained the advantage with an opportunist score on the half-hour mark. After Gordon Ross had intercepted Ruki Tipuna’s pass, Seb Stegmann raced in under the posts from twenty metres for a converted try.
Ross Johnston and Kyle Traynor went close, but the visitors couldn’t find a way through an organized Welsh defence before the half time break.
After the interval, Sonny Parker saw yellow for persistent infringing, but despite enjoying the lion’s share of the territory, Bristol failed to capitalize on the man advantage, although Ben Mosses almost wriggled clear.
In a second period with few chances, Rob Lewis was inches away from collecting his grubber to touch down, only to be thwarted by a fine George Watkins cover tackle.
London Welsh stretched their lead five minutes from time when Alex Davies converted a penalty goal to move his side ten points clear at 17-7.
Replacement scrum half James Grindal looked to have touched down late on for Andy Robinson’s men, but referee Tim Wigglesworth adjudged that the ball had been knocked on.
London Welsh sealed victory in the dying moments as Ollie Stedman rounded off a flowing attack to slide over in the corner and condemn Bristol to defeat in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Seb Jewell; Seb Stegmann, Tom May (c), Sonny Parker, Nick Scott; Gordon Ross, Alex Davies; Alec Hepburn, Andy Titterrell, James Tideswell, Mitch Lees, Ian Nimmo, Richard Thorpe, Carl Kirwan, Daniel Browne.
Replacements: Nathan Morris (for Carl Kirwan, 80 mins), Nathan Trevett (for Alec Hepburn, 51 mins), Peter Edwards (for James Tideswell, 51 mins), Ben West (for Ian Nimmo, 65 mins), Ollie Stedman (for Daniel Browne, 50 mins), Rob Lewis (for Seb Jewell, 60 mins), Alan Awcock (for Seb Stegmann, 65 mins).
Adam D’Arcy; George Watkins, Bryan Rennie, Ben Mosses, Ryan Edwards; Nicky Robinson, Ruki Tipuna; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Bruce Douglas, Glen Townson, Mark Sorenson (c), Marco Mama, James Merriman, Ben Skirving.
Replacements: Ollie Hayes (for Ross Johnston, 51 mins), Mark Lilley (for Kyle Traynor, 76 mins), Mitch Eadie (for James Merriman, 57 mins), Iain Grieve (for Ben Skirving, 70 mins), James Grindal (for Ruki Tipuna, 76 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Nicky Robinson, 60 mins), Jack Tovey (for Bryan Rennie, 55 mins).
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth