By Scott Thornton
November 25 2018

Bristol looked dead and buried in the clash with Wasps before a remarkable turnaround sparked by a hat-trick from Harry Thacker.  Bristol came up just short, eventually losing 32 - 28 having been 32 - 7 down at one stage.

The hosts raced into a twelve point lead inside seven minutes.  With Bristol seemingly still on the coach the outstanding Neal latched onto a neat pass from Sopoaga following a sloppy Bristol clearance.  Neal blasted through two tacklers to score his first Wasps try.  Neal then created the next try by offloading out of the tackle to free de jongh to go over for a a converted try. 

A confident Wasps saw an attempted attack from inside the in-goal area and they were fortunate to escape when Ryan Edwards was adjudged to have knocked on in the act of touching down.  However, Wasps were in an awkward position, the Bristol pack were dominant and this time Edwards made no mistake.  Following this set back Wasps opted for a more pragmatic approach and two penalties from Sopoaga extended the lead. 

Bristol looked to apply pressure at the start of the second period and looked good for a few minutes before Wasps dealt a crushing blow with a long breakaway and Gaskell dotting down.   Bristol’s woes were compounded when former Bristol scrum-half set up a move that allowed Neal in for his second.  The conversion made it 32 – 7 and it looked for all the world as if Bristol were going to be on the end of another heavy league defeat in Coventry. 

The game was then turned on its head when replacement Harry Thacker, in a real purple patch, scored a hat-trick, the third coming from an interception taken as Wasps were pressing hard to take the steam out of the Bristol revival.  Bristol ended the game seeking an unlikely looking win but were unable to fashion the crucial breakthrough, instead coming away with two bonus points in their fight to remain in the Premiership.

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