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Report: Bedford Blues 24-28 Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby fought back from a half-time deficit to claim a bonus point 28-24 victory over Bedford Blues on Boxing Day.

Andy Robinson’s men – who trailed 17-7 at the break – scored four tries through Chris Brooker (2), Olly Robinson and Andy Short to return to top spot in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Bristol flew out of the traps and, after David Lemi had surged clear in a sixty metre solo break, Nicky Robinson struck the upright with a penalty goal attempt.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to break the deadlock however, as Olly Robinson dabbed down following a huge driving lineout that caught the Bedford pack all at sea.

Jake Sharp saw a long range penalty effort fade wide, before Mitch Eadie saw yellow for coming in at the side during a prolonged spell of Bedford pressure.

And the numerical advantage paid off for the Blues, who took a 10-7 lead when Josh Buggea rumbled over from close range for an unconverted try.

Nicky Robinson missed the target with a mammoth penalty attempt and the squandered opportunity proved costly as Bedford pushed further ahead soon after.

This time, Dean Adamson showed blistering pace to skip his way across the whitewash, while Pritchard converted superbly from a narrow angle to put the home side in control at the break.

In a second half played in driving rain, Andy Short took advantage of Ian Evans’ gallop clear to saunter over in the corner for a converted try, reducing arrears to 17-14.

Marco Mama’s break almost handed Bristol another try, but it wasn’t until the hour mark that Andy Robinson’s men finally turned the game on its head.

After a typically powerful surge at the driving lineout, Chris Brooker was on hand to cross from five metres for a converted try.

And the hooker added a quickfire second when he latched onto Glen Townson’s offload to fly in under the posts. Robinson’s conversion put Bristol 17-28 in front.

Pat Tapley went over for a fine solo try in the dying seconds, but Bristol held out for a ninth successive league win.