Banner image

Author

Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Saturday, April 7th 2018

Analysis: six key games that won the GKIPA Championship

It's been an action-packed season in the GKIPA Championship - and we've still got two rounds left to play. But after being confirmed as champions, we take a look back at the six season-defining results that helped Pat Lam and his Bristol Rugby squad secure an immediate return to the Premiership. 


Rhodri to the rescue

Bristol Rugby 32-23 Ealing Trailfinders – Sunday, October 1st

It turned out to be the first of two tense and hard-fought matches against an Ealing Trailfinders side that pushed Bristol all the way to the final month of the season.

Rhodri Williams struck in the dying stages as Pat Lam’s side left it late to snatch a 32-23 victory and claim top spot in the Greene King IPA Championship – a position they would hold on to from this point onwards.

Ross McMillan, Alapati Leuia and Steven Luatua also crossed in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Ashton Gate.


Christmas number one

Bristol Rugby 56-19 Cornish Pirates – Friday, December 22nd

Bristol Rugby secured the Greene King IPA Championship’s Christmas number one spot after a breathtaking attacking performance saw them demolish sixth-placed Cornish Pirates at Ashton Gate.

Chris Vui’s second-minute try set Pat Lam’s men on their way to a 12th successive league win, before Luke Morahan, Alapati Leiua and Tusi Pisi ensured the bonus point was wrapped up inside 28 minutes.

Pirates hit back with three tries of their own, but a scintillating 70-metre score from Mat Protheroe – and late tries from Joe Joyce and Sam Jeffries - rounded off an emphatic win for the unbeaten league leaders.


Haining revives Bristol charge

Bristol Rugby 18-13 Bedford Blues – January 29th

It wasn’t pretty, but it was crucial.

After trailing by five points at half-time, replacement Nick Haining struck late as Bristol Rugby came from behind to beat Bedford Blues at Ashton Gate and maintain their 100 percent league record.  

Ian Madigan notched penalties in either half to keep Bristol within striking distance of a spirited Blues side, before Haining’s powerful surge from the base of a scrum and Madigan’s conversion completed the home side’s comeback in the closing stages.


Williams wows in table-topping clash

Ealing Trailfinders 27-28 Bristol Rugby – Sunday, February 11th

By this point in the season, this had become a red-hot top-of-the-table clash at Vallis Way, with Ealing looking to edge within striking distance of Bristol.

In another nervy affair, Jordan Williams inspired a second-half comeback, as Pat Lam’s overcame a half-time deficit to extend their lead at the top of the table to 13 points.

The full-back struck twice in the second period as Pat Lam’s side fought back to seal a bonus-point win in West London and maintain their unbeaten league record, while condemning Ealing to a first home defeat of the season.


Win-ter wonderland

Rotherham Titans 3-24 Bristol Rugby – Saturday, March 17th

This was a game that will live long in the memory, but for meteorological reasons, rather than rugby.

In extraordinary arctic conditions, Bristol battled to beat a spirited Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane in a remarkable GKIPA Championship match that, at one point or another, looked unlikely to be completed.

With a substantial blizzard encompassing much of the 80 minutes, Ian Madigan’s masterful 14-point haul and second-half tries from Ryan Edwards and Luke Morahan earned the league leaders a 17th win of the season in South Yorkshire.


The finish line

Nottingham 17-60 Bristol Rugby – Friday, April 6th

It was billed as a game that could see Pat Lam’s side take a major step towards the title, but as it turned out, it was a victory that would seal an immediate return to the top flight, following Ealing’s defeat to Doncaster Knights at Castle Park the following day.

They did it in emphatic style, running in eight tries to complete an emphatic win on the road, as two tries apiece from Luke Morahan and Nick Fenton-Wells, and further scores for Jason Harris-Wright, Jordan Crane, Alapati Leiua and Tusi Pisi completed an emphatic away-day performance in the Midlands – and in the process, went within 24 hours of being confirmed as the GKIPA Championship’s 2017/18 champions.


Related News

"Achieving promotion is first step, but this is just the start" - Lam

"Achieving promotion is first step, but this is just the start" - Lam

Posted: Saturday, April 7th 2018

Gallery: Moments from Bristol's title-winning campaign

Gallery: Moments from Bristol's title-winning campaign

Posted: Saturday, April 7th 2018

"It's been a tremendous journey so far" - Tainton

"It's been a tremendous journey so far" - Tainton

Posted: Saturday, April 7th 2018

Gallery: Nottingham 17-60 Bristol Rugby

Gallery: Nottingham 17-60 Bristol Rugby

Posted: Friday, April 6th 2018

Latest News

Piutau launches Tonga Tsunami Relief fundraising appeal

Piutau launches Tonga Tsunami Relief fundraising appeal

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022

Behind the Bears: Champions Cup fever

Behind the Bears: Champions Cup fever

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022

Loan watch: Hartpury suffer last-gasp defeat at Coventry

Loan watch: Hartpury suffer last-gasp defeat at Coventry

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022

£15 members tickets when Bears host Falcons

£15 members tickets when Bears host Falcons

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022

Also from Bristol Sport

💳 Enjoy your Severnside Derby 40% discount
Football icon

💳 Enjoy your Severnside Derby 40% discount

Take advantage of 40% off Bristol City home shirts in the Bristol Sport store just in time for the Severnside Derby at Ashton Gate on Saturday, 22nd January.

Posted: Wednesday, January 19th 2022 • Football

🔎 Miss Kick Match Preview: Manchester City (A)
Football icon

🔎 Miss Kick Match Preview: Manchester City (A)

Get an in-depth look at City Women’s opponents as they travel to the Academy Stadium to take on Man City quarter-finals of the FA Continental Cup this evening (7pm).

Posted: Wednesday, January 19th 2022 • Football

New date announced for Scorchers clash
Basketball icon

New date announced for Scorchers clash

A new date Bristol Flyers' previously postponed trip to Surrey Scorchers has been announced.

Posted: Wednesday, January 19th 2022 • Basketball

📣 Ashton Gate Eight 40th Anniversary
Football icon

📣 Ashton Gate Eight 40th Anniversary

City will mark the 40th anniversary of the Ashton Gate Eight with a weekend of appreciation including a pitch parade by the Robins heroes.

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022 • Football

Heat Recruitment make third donation to Digital Inclusion project
Bristol Sport icon

Heat Recruitment make third donation to Digital Inclusion project

Local company and long-time collaborators with the Bristol Sport Foundation (BSF), Heat Recruitment, have made a second donation of digital devices.

Posted: Tuesday, January 18th 2022 • Bristol Sport