GKIPA Championship

Bristol 50 Nottingham 21

By John Harding

TWO tries each for Dan Thomas, Jason Harris-Wright and Rhodri Williams plus one each for Jordan Williams and Joe Batley saw Bristol take maximum points as they cruised to their tenth GKIPA Championship victory of the season.

Visitors Nottingham, whose arrival had been delayed because of the fatal accident and subsequent closure of Brunel Way, went into the game full of confidence having beaten second-placed Ealing Trailfinders the previous week.

Bristol had two periods of being down to 14-men with replacement prop Nicky Thomas being yellow carded in the first half and full back Williams, though wrongly for a no-arms tackle, in the second half.

The home side weathered the first and in fact, scored themselves but the second, when under pressure, as poor discipline again hampered Bristol’s play and their clean sheet as Nottingham scored two of their three tries.

“We had a good first half with some clinical play and things were going well but then we had that patch again due to poor discipline, which is extremely disappointing,” said Bristol’s head coach Pat Lam.

“I said to the lads at half time that the only way that they [Nottingham] are going to get into the game would be our discipline. We’d got the five points but we still need to protect our try-line and we allowed in three tries.

“All in all I’m happy with some parts of the game but extremely disappointed particularly in our discipline and some of our patches in the second half. There is still a lot to work on and if we play like that at Doncaster next Saturday then we will be struggling.

“The lads know that when they are given the chance, it’s really important that you front-up. We want to be an eighty-minute team and not a team that scores a few tries and allow some in. So that’s what we aim to be.”

Bristol went into the break with a try-scoring bonus point, their ninth of the season, having racked-up 31 points through a brace from back row Thomas and hooker Harris-Wright plus one full-back Williams with fly-half Ian Madigan adding three conversions.

Scrum-half Williams started the second half scoring, Madigan adding the extras but when the game entered the final quarter, and with the hosts down to 14-men, Nottingham pounded the Bristol line.

Replacement hooker Ben Brownlie and replacement scrum-half Darryl Veenendaal crossed the whitewash with fly-half Tiff Eden converting both. But back to full strength Rhodri Williams claimed his second followed by replacement Joe Batley.

Callum Sheedy converted the second but the visitors were fully prepared to keeping battling away determined to add to their score and a possible try-scoring bonus point. Replacement centre Jordan Coghlan crossed for the third, converted by Eden.

Bristol scorers - tries: D Thomas 2, J Williams, J Harris-Wright 2, R Williams 2, J Batley; cons: I Madigan 4, C Sheedy.

Nottingham scorers - tries: B Brownlie, D Veenendaal, J Coghlan; cons: T Eden 3

Bristol: J Williams; L Morahan (J Wallace, 55), W Hurrell, T Pisi (C Sheedy, 50), T Varndell; I Madigan (A Uren, 61), R Williams; J Cosgrove, J Harris-Wright (B Gompels, 55), G Cortes (N Thomas, 17), J Joyce, S Jeffries, S Luatua (capt) (J Batley, 50) D Thomas, J Crane (S Tonga’uiha, 30-39)

Yellow card: N Thomas (28-39) J Williams (62-74)

Nottingham: S Scanlon, B Robinson, O Evans (J Coghlan, 21), G Lyons (V Hakalo, 4), D Williams; T Eden, M McConnell (D Veenendaal, 61); J Penman (A Sio, 49), J Stevens (B Brownlie, 61), R Burke (W Stuart, 50), T Holmes, D Qualter, S Buckley (B Morris, 50) M Everard (capt), J Poullet.

Referee: S Harding

Att: 6789