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REPORT: Bath United 20 - 28 Bristol United

Bristol United made it back-to-back bonus-point wins with an impressive 28-20 victory over Bath United at the Recreation Ground.

Elias Caven, Giorgi Nemsadze, Rhodri Williams and James Hall all crossed in a strong display from United, with eight points from the boot of Billy Searle completing the scoring.

As he had done the previous week, Searle opened the scoring early on with a well-struck penalty after a Bath infringement at the breakdown – but the fly-half was unable to add the extras six minutes later when Elias Caven snaffled an interception on halfway to cruise in from 50 metres and open up an 8-0 lead.

In slippery conditions, the returning Luke Arscott ensured much of the opening period would be played in Bath territory with some pinpoint kicking out of hand, while the set-piece provided a solid platform for the away side.

Bristol extended their lead on 20 minutes when Giorgi Nemsadze crashed over for his second try in successive A-League matches following a strong driving maul – and a third followed shortly after courtesy of Rhodri Williams, who dabbed down from close range after a powerful surge from Luke Arscott.

Shortly before the break, Bath got themselves on the scoreboard with a try from Jeff Williams, who applied the finishing touches to Aled Brew’s line break. Rory Jennings’ conversion sent the sides into the break at 7-18.

Bath picked up where they had left off at the end of the first half and closed the gap to a single point within four minutes of the restart - Rory Jennings’ penalty followed by a converted try from Adam Hastings saw the hosts claw their way back into the game at 17-18.

Billy Searle added a second three-pointer from under the posts on 48 minutes, before quick-thinking from James Hall saw him power over for the bonus-point try, with Searle’s conversion making it 17-28 with 25 minutes left to play.

Jennings reduced the deficit to eight points with a penalty on 72 minutes, but Bristol’s defence stood firm in the closing stages to secure a second-successive bonus-point victory in the Aviva A League.

Bristol United: Luke Arscott (Forbes 32); Elias Caven (Edwards 73), Robbie Smith (Cardiff Met Uni), Nick Carpenter, Maliq Holden (Clifton/Hartpury College); Billy Searle, Rhodri Williams (Uren 60); Jack O’Connell (Dawe 60), Rob Hawkins (Taylor 78), James Hall (Bachurzewksi 73), Giorgi Nemsadze (Hawkins 78), Sam Jeffries, Nick Koster, Nick Fenton-Wells (c), Rayn Smid (BJ Edwards 40).

Replacements: Nathan Taylor (Hartpury College), Ollie Dawe, Craig Bachurzewksi (Hartpury College), John Hawkins, BJ Edwards, Andy Uren, Robbie Forbes (Hartpury College), Blake Edwards (Bristol Uni).

Bath United: Darren Atkins, Harry Davies, Aled Brew, Rory Jennings, Jeff Williams, Adam Hastings, Will Homer; Beno Obano, Michael van Vuuren, Max Lahiff, Elliott Stooke, Alex Humfrey, Levi Douglas, Josh Bayliss, Matt Gilbert.

Replacements: Gabriel Oghre, Will Vaughan, Alex Wood, Will Britton, Alex Weighton, Cameron Brown, Levi Davis, Liam Forsyth.