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Will Carpenter


Posted Sunday, April 7th 2019

Report: Bristol Bears ‘A’ 19-36 Exeter Braves

Bristol Bears ‘A’ fell to defeat at the hands of a strong Exeter Braves side at Lockleaze Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.

After three Exeter tries in the first 13 minutes, Bristol hit back with two of their own courtesy of Charlie Powell and Reiss Cullen, before Onehunga Kaufusi crossed for the visitors’ fourth on the stroke of half-time.

Phil Dollman extended the Braves’ advantage early in the second half, before Tiff Eden hit back with a well-worked Bristol score.

Exeter though, had the final say with a sixth through Harry Strong, as the Devonians took the spoils.

What happened?

The opening quarter belonged well and truly to the visitors, who stormed into a three-try lead inside the first 13 minutes.

Sam Maunder finished well on three minutes after impressive build-up work from Tom O’Flaherty and Max Bodilly, before Greg Holmes crashed over from close range for a second just five minutes later.

O’Flaherty went in for Braves’ third, shaking off two tackles to cross out wide, as the visitors took full control.

But after a slow start, Bristol hit back with a perfectly-executed set-piece play, with Charlie Powell showing pace, power and footwork to storm in from 40 metres.

It was soon a double-strike from the home side, when Reiss Cullen collected Jack Capon’s fizzing pass to cross out wide and pull Bristol back into the game.

Stirzaker breaks clear of the Braves defence (JMPUK).

It was Exeter though, who had the final say of the half with their fourth try, as McRae’s powerful surge sent the supporting Kaufusi over for a well-worked score.

They grabbed their fifth early in the second half courtesy of Phil Dollman after Tom Hendrickson manufactured an opening.

Bristol’s response was an immediate one, with Stirzaker sniping on the fringes and linking well with Eden for the hosts’ third try of the afternoon.

Harry Strong crossed 13 minutes from time after Bodilly’s speculative wide pass, and while Bristol went in search of the try bonus-point, they were denied by a sturdy Braves’ defence, who held out for the win.

Teams and scorers:

Bristol Bears ‘A’: McNab (Hartpury); Fricker, Powell, Ascherl (Bristol U18s), Cullen; Eden, Stirzaker (co-capt); Thomas, Kloska, Armstrong, Batley, Muldowney (co-capt), Jeffries, J Capon, Graham. Replacements: Stretch (Hartpury), Jo Lay, Faletau, Ehizode, Thurston, Evans (Bristol Uni), Murphy (Bath Uni), Wright (Durham Uni).

Exeter Braves: Dollman, Short, Bodilly, Hendrickson, O'Flaherty, Skinner, Maunder; Keast, Innard, Holmes (capt), Caulfield, Pearson, McRae, Kaufusi, Lawday. Replacements: Taione, Low, Street, Clemson, Schroter, Snow, Davies, Strong.

Bristol Bears A: Tries: Powell 24, Cullen 34, Eden 48. Cons: Eden 24, 48. 

Exeter Braves: Tries: Maunder 4, Holmes 9, O'Flaherty 13, Kaufusi 37, Dollman 45, Strong 67. Cons: Skinner 4, 37, 45.