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Report: Bristol Rugby 31-26 Pontypridd

Bristol Rugby fought back from a sixteen point half-time deficit to overcome Pontypridd 31-26 at Ashton Gate.

George Watkins grabbed a brace in the Pool One encounter, while replacement scrum half Craig Hampson also dotted down during a high-octane second half.

Simon Humberstone kicked Pontypridd into a 0-3 lead before the ten-minute mark and the visitors extended their lead soon after.

Liam Belcher found himself in space to rumble over from fifteen metres, while Humberstone converted from the narrowest of angles.

Bristol reduced the deficit with a penalty try midway through the first period, but Simon Humberstone’s long-range three pointer kept Pontypridd’s noses in front.

And the visitors went further ahead as Owen Jenkins took advantage of space down the outside channel to race in for an unconverted try from forty metres.

Pontypridd moved into a 7-23 lead before half-time as skipper Dafydd Lockyer latched onto a short ball to puncture an opening in the midfield and cross the whitewash, although Humberstone struck the upright with his conversion attempt.

A further penalty goal from the Pontypridd fly half gave the home side a mountain to climb, but George Watkins kept Bristol in touch when the winger accelerated over for a converted try.

Nicky Robinson and Andy Short had tries chalked off by referee Andrew Brace for adjudged infringements as the hosts probed for a route back into the game.

It wasn’t until ten minutes before the end when Craig Hampson ghosted between two defenders to dot down for a converted try.

And, after Owen Jenkins saw yellow for Pontypridd, George Watkins flew over in the corner, while Robinson converted to turn the game on its head at 28-26.

The fly half struck a late penalty goal to ensure Bristol came away with victory and maintain their 100% record in all competitions.

Bristol Rugby:

Jack Wallace; Andy Short, Gareth Maule, Luke Eves, George Watkins; Nicky Robinson, Luke Baldwin; Jack O’Connell, Chris Brooker, Gaston Cortes, Joe Joyce, Mark Sorenson (c), Josh Ovens, Marco Mama, Ben Skirving.

Replacements: Max Crumpton (for Chris Brooker, 40 mins), Matias Diaz, Glen Townson (for Joe Joyce, 62 mins), Mitch Eadie (for Josh Ovens, 49 mins), Craig Hampson (for Luke Baldwin, 40 mins), Mark Cooke (for Luke Eves, 40 mins), Jack Tovey (for Gareth Maule, 62 mins).

Pontypridd:

Aled Summerhill; Owen Jenkins, Gavin Dacey, Dafydd Lockyer (c), Matthew Nuthall; Simon Humberstone, Lewis Jones; Chris Phillips, Liam Belcher, Keiron Jenkins, Lou Reed, Seb Davies, Wayne O'Connor, Rhys Shellard, Dan Godfrey.

Subs: Lloyd Williams, Lewis K Williams, Garyn Smith (for Gavin Dacey, 73 mins), Huw Dowden (for Liam Belcher, 70 mins), Jake Thomas (for Dan Godfrey, 70 mins), Dillon Lewis (for Keiron Jenkins, 40 mins), Tau' Filise (for Chris Phillips, 40 mins).

Referee: Andrew Brace
Attendance: 5,760
Airbus Man of the Match: Jack Wallace