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DONNY WINNING STREAK AT ASHTON GATE CONTINUES
An unfamiliar Bristol side slumped to a disappointing defeat to Doncaster. The visitors leading for much of the game and Bristol vulnerable in defence and disjointed in attack.
EALING LEAVE BRISTOL EMPTY-HANDED
In a closely fought game Bristol came out on top but left it terribly late. A piece of individual brilliance from Mat Protheroe set up the winning try with just minutes left and a penalty on the stroke of full time ensured that Ealing failed to register a losing bonus point
NEWCOMERS HARTPURY GIVE BRIS A SCARE
A very poor first half will have left few Championship clubs quaking in their boots at the might of relegated Bristol. In fact you might have thought Bristol were the promoted side with a lack of incisiveness and both set-pieces struggling to deliver quality possession. The hosts just about had enough quality to edge away in the second half but it was an uncomfortable opening to the Championship season, possibly worse than anything served up in the Premiership. If anyone thought promotion was going to be a cakewalk then this will have soundly disabused them.
A brief sojourn in the sunny uplands of the Premiership proved to be the massive challenge that most, if not all, always thought it would be. A couple of good wins and one or two near misses were never going to be enough to keep us up. So it’s back to the Championship with a new coach and a new squad. This time with no pray-offs to negotiate. How strange to finish the season in April.
BRIS HOLD ON FOR A SINGLE POINT DERBY VICTORY
Bristol, bottom of the league, on the back of a bad run, thumped in the last two games - up against B**h. Obviously a 12 – 11 victory was the only possible outcome. Form book out of the window as Bristol’s struggle for Premiership survival continues. The players stepped up to the mark in an enthralling, if tense, encounter. Next up - the club we have to overhaul to avoid relegation.
What would you give for this?
A famous victory that ultimately proved in vain with Bristol relegated after a dismal performance against London Irish. Even if B**h had finished the season rock bottom the chances are they would have been saved by a shocking merger of the two clubs. But here's the match report from that game: The end result of the 222nd meeting between these great West Country rivals, which if the papers are to be believed are destined to be called either the Wessex Stormers or the West Country Stormers in the very near future, was a resounding 30-20 victory for the Bristol Shoguns.
VARNDELL CLAIMS RECORD TRY BUT BRIS SURRENDER
A win would have seen Bristol off the bottom. Instead a horrible 'performance', relieved only by Tom Varndell's 91st Premiership try, ensured that Bristol would remain stuck in last place and killed off the optimism engendered by the recent league results. In truth there were actually some good aspects to Bristol’s play but they were hugely outweighed by a failure to carry out some of the basics to anything even close to an acceptable standard. Poor ball retention seemed to be the worst culprit, undermining any of the good work Bristol put in. Combine this with a tactical kicking game that failed to give any territory or control and it was a recipe for disaster even against a side that was apparently unable to play for more than 30 seconds without having at least four players collapsing to the ground at the next break in play.
GLOS SECOND HALF BLOWS AWAY BRIS
Bristol were in front at half time with Gloucester failing to trouble the scoreboard. A vastly improved performance from the hosts in the second half took the game away from Bristol in emphatic fashion. Two very late tries put a slight gloss on the final score but it was too little, too late and even the losing bonus point remained out of reach. Time is fast running out for Bristol to retain a Premiership status that took so long to regain.
BRISTOL'S SEARCH FOR A WIN GOES ON
In the first Premiership derby for seven years Bristol came away with a losing bonus point and might even have claimed a draw at the very end. Although Bristol were competitive against a rather makeshift B**h side there is a world of difference between being competitive and winning. Bristol dominated possession for much of the opening quarter and for the closing ten minutes without ever looking able to cross the whitewash except by way of a drive from close range. In between they were under pressure throughout and never seemed able to break that stranglehold. B**h fashioned one breakthrough and scored the only try of the game. Bristol could never quite manage to do the same.
NEW ERA, DIFFERENT STORY
A win at last for Bristol. OK, so it wasn't in the Premiership, against a side that wasn't near full-strength and is notoriously poor on the road but it was a win. And quite a good win too. A much heralded new signing made a very positive impact and didn't get injured after twenty minutes and some of the old stagers looked much better than we have seen recently. The defence, while far from perfect looked sharper. The defence of the rolling maul continues to be impressive. Right, who's up next?