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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, January 26th 2021

Hartley Pensions Derby Flashback Five

The West Country derby has conjured up drama, tension and many a memorable moment throughout the years - here's a run down of five of the best, powered by Hartley Pensions.

Hartley, a Wilton company are a Bristol-based provider for innovative and flexible wealth management solutions and retain their branding on the back of the home and away jerseys throughout the 2020/21 season. 


Bristol 44-6 Bath - 5th April 1980

Bristol had lost heavily at Bath earlier in the season in a game in which hooker Kevin Bogira was sent off by a French referee who had difficulty communicating with the players.

Teenage winger David Trick had run Bristol ragged in Bath’s 38-17 victory, and when the return fixture was played at Easter, skipper Mike Fry helped to devise a plan to keep Trick quiet. This involved every back moving over one place whenever there was a lineout, leaving the winger with no room in which to operate.

Any midfield gaps were plugged by Bristol’s back row, and the tactic worked to perfection. Bristol ran riot, scoring seven tries, but the highlight was the only drop goal of Alan Morley’s career. The prolific try-scorer took everyone by surprise when his speculative kick succeeded, and it summed up a special day as Bristol set a new record score against their rivals. 


Bristol 19-16 Bath - 4th September 2005

Bristol had returned to the Premiership after a two-season absence, and the first game of the new league campaign saw them face Bath at the Memorial Stadium in front of a record league crowd of 11,768, plus the Sky Sports cameras.

Bath dominated for much of the match, but they missed various kicks at goal and wasted several try-scoring opportunities. Even so, with two minutes of normal time remaining, the visitors led 16-12 and appeared to have done enough to win. All this changed though when winger Lee Robinson, newly-arrived from Plymouth Albion, received the ball 35 metres from the line. He powered his way through five attempted tackles on an incredible run to score one of the greatest individual tries ever witnessed at the Memorial Stadium.

The try was converted by Jason Strange, and Bristol survived a lengthy period of injury time to record a famous derby victory.


Bristol 16-6 Bath - 27th December 2006

The 2006-07 season saw Bristol finish third in the Premiership, despite being widely tipped for relegation. They played Bath four times during the season, winning on three occasions and claiming a Premiership double over their neighbours.

The Christmas home match was switched to Ashton Gate, and as a result a crowd of 21,203 turned up to see the action. This was a record for a league game outside Twickenham.

Lee Robinson had already scored against Bath earlier in the season as Bristol enjoyed a rare league victory at the Rec, and he obliged again with a late score at Ashton Gate.

All Black outside half David Hill sent a high kick to the corner, and Robinson outjumped the defence and dived over the line.  Although the final score was only 16-6, Bristol actually won this game fairly comfortably, and the victory sent them to the top of the Premiership table.


Bristol Bears 17-10 Bath Rugby - 31st August 2018

After storming to the Championship title in Pat Lam's first season in charge, the newly-rebranded Bears kicked off life back in the top flight with a mouth-watering West Country derby under the lights at Ashton Gate.

A tense encounter eventually gave way to a thrilling finale, as Alapati Leiua’s 73rd-minute try fired the Bears to a 17-10 victory over Bath in front of more than 25,000 supporters.

The Samoan wing gathered Luke Morahan’s offload to dive in seven minutes from time and send a capacity Ashton Gate crowd into raptures on a pulsating night in BS3.

Three penalties from the boot of Ian Madigan had given Pat Lam’s side a 9-0 lead early in the second-half, but Tom Homer’s 53rd-minute try – after an earlier mishap saw him spill the ball over the whitewash – together with a conversion and a penalty from the boot of Rhys Priestland, looked to have snatched it for Bath, with Tusi Pisi in the sin bin.

But Madigan’s fourth penalty on 69 minutes edged Bristol back in front, before Leiua lifted the roof of Ashton Gate with a try that will live long in the home fans' memory.


Bristol Bears 43-16 Bath Rugby - 18th October 2019

A record crowd at Ashton Gate was treated to spectacular Bears victory on the opening day of the 2019/20 season.

Pat Lam's rampant side ran in seven tries to storm to a bonus-point victory, on a night that saw Academy starlet Ioan Lloyd make his Gallagher Premiership debut.

Luke Morahan and Nathan Hughes touched down inside the first 15 minutes, before Bath hit back with two Rhys Priestland penalties and a try from Zach Mercer to lead by a single point just before the interval.

But Pat Lam’s men had the final say of the half with a try from Mat Protheroe, before the wing turned provider for Piers O’Conor early in the second half.

Priestland landed a third penalty to reduce the deficit, but Lewis Boyce’s yellow card opened the floodgates, as John Afoa, Ioan Lloyd – on his Premiership debut – and Luke Morahan sealed a thumping win for Bristol in front of more than 26,000 supporters in BS3.


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