Western Counties North: Avon 21 North Bristol 19
6:00pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in Sport
A GAME low on attractive rugby was high in drama as Avon snatched the win away from North Bristol at Hicks Field.
North Bristol’s debutant flanker Tom Canneaux started the game by collecting Dan Snow’s kick-off but despite the great take, he had to leave the field after less than a minute with a stomach injury.
Snow opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty soon after and North had the early 3-0 lead.
He was unable to double the lead when he missed from 40 metres but then Avon began to get a foothold in North’s territory and missed two penalties.
Just two minutes later, Snow looked in a good position to collect an up and under but he tore his calf muscle and collapsed to the floor. Avon collected the loose, bouncing ball and were able to score a soft try. The conversion took them 7-3 ahead.
The re-shuffle saw Jim Hitchman come into the centre with Josh Davies moving back to full-back. Davies was able to kick two penalties to put North Bristol back in the lead at 9-7. Avon re-took the lead with a 45 metre drop goal. They increased their lead with a try and North had it all to do, trailing 15-9 with 30 minutes left.
From a quickly taken tapped penalty, Alex Cue fed Richard Mortimer, who went over for the try. Davies connected with the conversion and North Bristol were back ahead at 16-15.
After 74 minutes Avon went 18-16 ahead with a successful kick.
North’s pack drove hard yet again and five metres from the line the referee gave a penalty. Davies gratefully accepted the kick and North were a point to the good again with minutes to play.
Once again North Bristol were unable to secure the re-start and were then penalised for obstruction as Avon attacked with the kick taking them ahead as the lead changed hands for the eighth time.
Back came North for one last charge at winning the game and the referee awarded a penalty. Davies was unable to land the tricky 40 metre kick and the chance was gone.
On Saturday North Bristol welcome Oldfield to Oaklands, a team that they have not played in League rugby since 1999.
North Bristol: Tries – Richard Mortimer; Conversions – Josh Davies; Penalties – Josh Davies (3), Dan Snow.
GRFU Premier: North Bristol 2nds 10 Cleve 2nds 37
A SPIRITED performance from depleted North Bristol surprised Cleve and probably themselves too, as despite the final scoreline, they remained in contention throughout.
A series of good Cleve drives wore down the route to the try line after ten minutes for a converted try. However, a Phillips interception on his own 22 metre line took North to halfway where a surging run from man-of-the-match Rob Collins turned defence into attack and a well-earned try. Phillips converted to draw North level at 7-7.
Stolen ball gave Cleve a second converted try. The lead was extended to 17-7 when Cleve slotted an easy penalty before in-form North No. 10 Phillips quickly responded with a drop goal to haul it back to 10-17.
The kicking duel went to advantage Cleve from a second penalty before a slick set backs move took the visitors 25-10 ahead from an unconverted try at the interval.
Some unusually shabby attempted-tackles let in an easy converted Cleve try to push their lead to 32-10.
A big-hearted defensive day was all North’s reward, epitomised by back-three Mike Huntbach, Vince Tesson and Matt Lang in a gritty rear-guard that somehow did not deserve a final scrappy Cleve try when the visitors had taken uncontested scrums near the end.
North Bristol scorers: Tries – Rob Collins; Conversions – Joel Phillips; Drop Goals - Joel Phillips.
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