- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, March 23rd 2019
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 25-27 Worcester Warriors
Saturday, March 23rd 2019
Bristol Bears fell short of a second-half comeback as Worcester Warriors held on to secure a narrow win on another dramatic afternoon at Ashton Gate.
An early penalty try and Luke Morahan’s 18th-minute score had edged Bristol in front on the half-hour mark, but three tries in 19 minutes from the Warriors saw them take the impetus, with two penalties from Duncan Weir firing them into a nine-point lead in the final quarter.
Bristol hit back with a well-worked try from Callum Sheedy, who had earlier added two penalties, to set up a tense finale in BS3.
But with Ben Te’o in the sin-bin, Bristol were unable to make the numerical advantage pay, as last week’s match-winner, Ian Madigan saw his long-range penalty drifting agonisingly wide of the uprights on 76 minutes.
With time ticking away, Andy Uren scooped up a loose ball and charged for the line, but his offload evaded the supporting Dan Thomas, and Warriors held on to take the spoils.
As they have done in their previous three league outings, Bristol struck inside the first ten minutes, this time courtesy of a penalty try after two driving lineouts were illegally halted by the away side.
Niall Annett was sent to the sin-bin for the infringement, but Worcester survived his ten-minute absence without a blemish and soon levelled the scores when Ted Hill shook off two tackles to power over from close range.
Back came Bristol, with a slick handling move sending Morahan over in the right-hand corner to restore the hosts’ advantage.
It didn’t last long though, as Te’o applied the finishing touches to another clinical Worcester attack, with Weir’s conversion edging the visitors in front.
Two Sheedy penalties swung the game back Bristol’s way, before Josh Adams marked his return from international duty with a try six minutes before the break.
Weir converted and was on target with penalty on the stroke of half-time to give Worcester a six-point lead heading into the sheds.
That soon became nine points courtesy of another Weir penalty – and the fly-half almost put the game to bed on 55 minutes but was unable to cling on as he stretched for the line.
Pat Lam’s side soon clawed their way back, with Piutau sending Sheedy over from close range after a dazzling break from Morahan - and the fly-half’s conversion made it a two-point game before he was replaced by Madigan.
Bristol were now on the front foot and the outstanding Chris Vui made big inroads to take the hosts within striking distance.
Te’o was collateral damage from Vui’s burst, seeing yellow as Bristol pressed for the winning score. But when Madigan’s penalty from halfway slid the wrong side of the posts, time was not on their side.
There was still time for one last push, and from a Worcester scrum just inside their own half, Uren sprang into action to steal the loose ball and sprint clear. After shaking off Hougaard, the Worcester cover blocked his path and the scrum-half’s offload escaped the grasp of Dan Thomas, as Alan Solomons’ side held on for the win, to leave Bristol with a consolation losing bonus-point.
Teams and scorers:
Bristol Bears: Tries: Penalty 5, Morahan 18, Sheedy 67. Cons: Sheedy 67. Pens: Sheedy 27, 31
Worcester Warriors: Tries: Hill 15, Te’o 23, Adams 34. Cons: Weir 15, 23, 34. Pens: Weir 36, 46. Yellow: Annett 5, Te’o 69
Bristol Bears: Daniels, Morahan, O’Conor, S Piutau (cc), Pincus. Sheedy, Randall (Uren 58); Woolmore (Y Thomas 49), Parry (Thacker 40), Thiede (Afoa 34), Holmes, Vui, Luatua, Heenan, Crane (cc) (D Thomas 49). Replacements: Thacker, Y Thomas, Afoa, Batley, D Thomas, Uren, Madigan, Protheroe.
Worcester Warriors: Pennell, Howe, Te’o, Mills, Adams, Lance, Hougaard; Black, Annett, Schonert, Bresler, Fatiolofa, Hill, Lewis, Mama. Replacements: Taufete’e, Waller, Milasinovich, Philips, Kirwan, Heaney, Weir, Butler.
Two quick-fire scores from Ted Hill and Ben Te'o cancelled out a fifth-minute penalty try and Luke Morahan's early effort, but it was Josh Adams' score shortly before half-time that really swung the momentum the way of the visitors.
The Welsh wing flew over in the corner after clinical attacking play from the Warriors.
Man of the match: Chris Vui
On a disappointing afternoon, Chris Vui was a very bright spot for Bristol Bears.
The Samoan was at his barnstorming best in the loose, carrying superbly to get Bristol on the front foot.
His 30-metre break in the closing stages saw Ben Te'o sent to the sin-bin, but Bristol were unable capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Photo of the match:
Images courtesy of JMPUK.
- Morahan, Sheedy
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Te'o, Adams, Hill
- Weir (3)
- Weir (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Te'o, Annett