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Report: Bath United 22-26 Bristol Bears ‘A’

George Smith's hat-trick helped Bristol Bears 'A' to a derby victory over Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground.

What happened?

The experienced back rower crossed twice in the first half and once again after the break as Bristol rounded off the Premiership Rugby Shield with a 26-22 win over their neighbours.

Nic Stirzaker's try confirmed the bonus point, while Bristol withstood a late Bath fightback to hold out for the victory in glorious conditions.

Smith opened the scoring inside two minutes when he dotted down from close-range, before adding a second on the quarter hour from a powerful driving lineout.

Alex Davies struck a penalty for the hosts, before Mat Protheroe's solo break saw Nic Stirzaker fly over the chalk to build a commanding 19-3 advantage.

Before the interval, Will Butt reacted quickest to go over in the corner, but Bristol regained the initiative soon into the second half as George Smith sealed his hat-trick with another successful driving maul.

Then, two quickfire tries - courtesy of the impressive Will Butt and Chris Cook - brought Bath to within four points at 22-26, but the Bears held out for a morale boosting win.

Key moment:

George Smith's third try - soon after half-time - handed Bristol an almost unassailable lead and, although Bath hit back with two late tries in the Spring sunshine, it was the visitors who held out to end the Premiership Shield competition in winning fashion.

Teams:

Bath Rugby:

15. Levi Davis; 14. Will Butt, 13. Max Clark, 12. Max Wright, 11. Gabriel Hamer-Webb; 10. Alex Davies (c), 9. Max Green; 1. Lucas Noguera, 2. Jack Walker, 3. Sam Nixon, 4. Will Britton, 5. Levi Douglas, 6. Jack Davies, 7. Josh Bainbridge (guest), 8. Miles Reid.

Replacements: 16. Michael van Vuuren, 17. Will Vaughan, 18. Kieran Verden, 19. Arthur Cordwell, 20. Rhys Davies, 21. Angus Hinton (guest), 22. Chris Cook, 23. Max Ojomoh.

Bristol Bears:

15. Mat Protheroe; 14. Toby Fricker, 13. Charlie Powell, 12. Harry Ascherl (Bristol U18s/Clifton College), 11. Luke Daniels; 10. Tiff Eden, 9. Nic Stirzaker (co-capt); 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Nick Fenton-Wells, 3. Lewis Thiede, 4. Joe Batley, 5. Aly Muldowney, 6. Jake Heenan (co-capt), 7. George Smith, 8. Jack Lam.

Replacements: 16. George Kloska, 17. Jordan Lay, 18. Sione Faletau, 19. Angus Southon (Hartpury), 20. Jack Capon, 21. Reiss Cullen, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Nathan Chamberlain.