- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, December 4th 2020
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 18-17 Northampton Saints
Friday, December 4th 2020
Sam Bedlow held his nerve to snatch a dramatic victory with the final kick of the game, as Bristol Bears came from behind to beat Northampton Saints at Ashton Gate.
Trailing by nine points with just eight minutes remaining, Piers O’Conor’s converted try brought Pat Lam’s men within striking range of the Saints, who had led the whole way.
But after Ehren Painter’s deliberate knock on in the dying seconds, Bedlow stepped up to land a long-range penalty and with it, earn a win that had looked unlikely just 10 minutes earlier.
First-half tries from Michael Ribbans and Piers Francis had put Saints in the driving seat, but Henry Purdy’s well-worked score dragged the Bears back into the contest.
Alapati Leiua saw a try chalked off by the TMO, before Eden and Grayson traded penalties to give Saints a nine-point lead heading into the closing stages.
But O’Conor latched on to Harry Randall’s perfectly weighted kick through to give the Bears a sniff late on, leaving Bedlow to land the killer blow with the clock in the red.
A late change saw Tiff Eden replace Sam Bedlow at fly half following the warm-up – and Eden was straight into action, scything through the Saints defence inside the first minute before being hauled down inches short.
Having come close to the opener, the Bears soon found themselves behind – Ribbans galloping clear for the opener and then Francis, latching on to Grayson’s expert chip ahead to power Saints into a commanding lead.
Bristol hit straight back through Purdy after a neat combination between Eden and Piutau freed up space for the full back on the outside arc.
Bristol began to pile on the pressure and thought they had grabbed a second minutes before the interval, but Leiua’s score – an almost carbon copy of Purdy’s – was ruled out by the TMO for a knock-on by Uren in the build-up.
Eden kicked the first points of the second half to reduce the deficit, but the fly half was off target with his next two kicks.
At the other end, Grayson made no such mistake to open up a nine-point lead heading into the final quarter, but the drama was yet to unfold.
O’Conor raced on to Randall’s kick to set up a thrilling finale on drizzly night in BS3, and when Painter’s stray arm blocked Yann Thomas’ attempted pass, replacement Bedlow stepped up to seal back-to-back wins for the hosts.
Bristol Bears: Purdy; Adeolokun (Fricker 59), O'Conor, S Piutau (c), Leiua; Eden (Bedlow 61), Uren; Woolmore (Y Thomas 65), Byrne, Lahiff (Afoa 46), Attwood (Holmes 52), Joyce, Heenan, D Thomas, Hughes (Eadie 65).
Replacements: Capon, Y Thomas, Afoa, Holmes, Eadie, Randall, Bedlow, Fricker.
Northampton Saints: Tuala; Proctor, Francis, Hutchinson, Collins; Grayson, Taylor; Waller (cc), Marshall, Franks, Ratuniyarawa, Ribbans, Isiekwe, Ludlam (cc), Wood.
Replacements: Fish, Van Wyk, Painter, Uru, Adendorff, Mitchell, Dingwall, Naiyaravoro.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Purdy 20, O’Conor 73. Cons: Bedlow 73, Bedlow 73. Pens: Eden 45, Bedlow 80
Northampton Saints: Tries: Ribbans 9, Francis 15. Cons: Grayson 9, 15. Pens: Grayson 68
Ice cool, Sam Bedlow.
The replacement held his nerve with the clock in the red to snatch a dramatic win for Pat Lam's men.
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Henry Purdy
A real 'grab it by the scruff of the neck' performance from Henry Purdy, whose first start for the club at full back was very accomplished.
Purdy scored the Bears' first try of the night, and it was his surge late on that took his side within striking distance of a match winning penalty.
Social media reaction
Omgahd 😭 @sambedlow1 I love you— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) December 4, 2020
- Purdy, O'Conor
- Eden, Bedlow
- Yellow Cards:
- Francis, Ribbans
- Grayson (2)
- Yellow Cards: