Western Counties North
North Bristol 20 Chosen Hill 37
MISSED tackles were costly for North Bristol in this Western Counties North match, although there were signs during the game that the result could have gone the other way.
However, when the visiting backs ripped through North’s defence for five tries it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Chosen Hill had first use of the wind and opened the scoring after six minutes with a penalty after earlier missing an initial chance.
North Bristol however carried well against the breeze, especially flanker-cum-centre Matt Bowden, who crunched into midfield on more than one occasion.
From a number of close drives near the Chosen line, North were awarded a penalty and after 11 minutes Dan Snow levelled things up at 3-3.
One facet of play that has let down North this season is conceding points straight after scoring and just two minutes later Chosen’s pacey full back ran in from 30 metres, capitalising on some poor tackling, and with the conversion they led 10-3.
With the wind behind them, North looked likely to take the game to their visitors in the second half and after the opening scrum, where Alex Featherstone dominated his much larger, heavier opponent, North won a penalty. However, Snow could not connect on the 45-metre attempt.
Chosen Hill countered and added a penalty before further missed tackles down the right saw them take a big advantage at 20-3 with a converted try.
After 51 minutes North Bristol gave themselves a lifeline when great hands from Ross Wilson put his second row partner John Wood, making his first appearance since breaking his arm, over for a try to bring the score back to 8-20.
The lifeline was short lived though when Chosen Hill scored down the right again to lead 25-8.
When replacement hooker Richard Mortimer scored his 50th for North, it was 13-25 with 15 minutes to go.
Back came Chosen Hill, though, as their full back scored his hat-trick try and with the score at 13-32 any chance of a comeback had gone.
He repeated the dose for his fourth score and despite a consolation try from Steve Trimmel, converted by Snow, North ended the contest with nothing.
Snow was left with a milestone however, surpassing 600 career points for North Bristol.
Bristol Combination Vase Semi-Final
North Bristol 18 Barton Hill 24
A BIG crowd gathered for this midweek Bristol Combination Vase Semi-Final under lights at Oaklands.
After eight minutes some great phase play from North, during which full back Carl Smith looked sharp, saw Barts concede a penalty and Dan Snow’s kick sailed between the posts for an early 3-0 lead.
However it was short-lived as a quick break down the left saw Barts score a converted try to lead 7-3 after 11 minutes.
The home scrum started to dominate and, after some sharp handling, Smith dived over for a try that Snow was unable to convert and it was 8-7.
Back came Barts three minutes later with a penalty and then after 22 minutes they capitalised on a poor North lineout to score their second converted try to lead 17-8.
The ebb-and-flow of the game continued and it was North Bristol to score next. Strong driving play from the pack, where Ross Wilson, Chris Underwood and Rob Collins stood out, gave Snow the chance to slot his second penalty to bring North back within six points.
As the game neared the half way stage, Barts ended up with their third try to take a 24-11 lead into the break.
After Barts had a man sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Matt Bowden, a powerful lineout drive enabled hooker Richard Mortimer to dive over for a try.
Snow converted and it was 18-24 after 58 minutes and it was all to play for.
In the final minutes Barton Hill were able to press back upfield, where they effectively ran the clock down on an exciting cup match, and they will take on Bristol Saracens in the final.
North Bristol scorers: Tries - Richard Mortimer, Carl Smith; Conversions - Dan Snow; Penalties - Dan Snow (2).