Bristol's Promotion Hopes Dashed By Exiles
Bristol Rugby 20-21 London Welsh
Bristol Rugby’s promotion dreams came to an end at the Memorial Stadium on Wednesday evening.
London Welsh fought back from a 20-9 deficit to secure a 20-21 win and – in the process – book their spot in the Aviva Premiership at the expense of Andy Robinson’s men.
The hosts started the brighter and could have gone in front, only for Nicky Robinson to direct his penalty goal effort wide of the upright.
The Welsh fly half saw a second attempt fade short as Bristol began to turn the screw in the opening period.
But Gordon Ross made Bristol pay for those missed opportunities, coolly slotting a drop-goal on the half hour to edge London Welsh ahead.
With five minutes left on the clock in an entertaining first half, Andy Short latched onto Nicky Robinson’s crossfield kick to slip inside his man and cross the whitewash for an unconverted try.
Gordon Ross kept the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty goal, before Chris Cook saw yellow for a deliberate knock on deep in the Exiles territory.
Buoyed by the numerical advantage, Nicky Robinson struck a simple three-pointer to put Bristol 8-6 up at the interval.
Andy Robinson’s men began the second half in superb fashion, as Mitch Eadie capitalized on a well-worked lineout to rampage his way over from thirty metres, although Robinson couldn’t add the extras.
Robinson missed another penalty from the angle, before Gordon Ross put London Welsh fifteen points clear on aggregate with a penalty goal of his own.
But Bristol found a route back into the game when Ben Mosses broke free of the midfield shackles, before feeding replacement Adam Hughes to score. Jarvis converted, moving the score to 20-9.
London Welsh extinguished any hopes of a comeback when Nathan Vella rumbled over for a try which, after referee Luke Pearce went upstairs to the TMO, was awarded.
And Seb Stegmann’s opportunist score late on – converted by the ever-reliable Gordon Ross – condemned Bristol to a heartbreaking defeat in the last ever game at the Memorial Stadium.
Jack Wallace; Charlie Amesbury, Jack Tovey, Ben Mosses, Andy Short; Nicky Robinson, Ruki Tipuna (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Gaston Cortes, Ben Glynn, Glen Townson, Nick Koster, Marco Mama, Mitch Eadie.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence (for Ross Johnston, 60 mins), James Hall (for Kyle Traynor, 60 mins), Jason Hobson (for Gaston Cortes, 57 mins), Ben Skirving (for Nick Koster, 68 mins), James Grindal (for Ruki Tipuna, 78 mins), Adrian Jarvis (for Nicky Robinson, 54 mins), Adam Hughes (for Jack Tovey, 67 mins).
Alan Awcock; Seb Stegmann, Tom May (c), Seb Jewell, Nick Scott; Gordon Ross, Chris Cook; Nathan Trevett, Nathan Morris, Peter Edwards, Will Spencer, Matt Corker, Mitch Lees, Carl Kirwan, Richard Thorpe.
Replacements: Nathan Vella (for Nathan Morris, 60 mins), Tom Bristow (for Nathan Trevett, 50 mins), James Tideswell (for Peter Edwards, 41 mins), Ben West, Ollie Stedman (for Mitch Lees, 67 mins), Rob Lewis, Rhys Crane (for Alan Awcock, 36 mins).
Referee: Luke Pearce
ITEC UK Man of the Match: Mitch Eadie