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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, August 31st 2018

Report: Bristol Bears 'A' 30-21 Bath United

Bristol Bears ‘A’ kicked off their Premiership Shield campaign with a hard-fought 30-21 victory over Bath United at the Clifton RFC training base on Friday afternoon.

First-half tries from Harry Randall and Nick Haining - after yellows cards to Bath's Levi Douglas and Michael van Vuuren - cancelled out Ruaridh McConnochie’s 18th-minute effort, while two penalties and two conversions from the boot of Tiff Eden gave Bristol a 20-7 lead at the interval.

Bath struck again early in the second half through Rhys Davies, but Bristol hit back immediately courtesy of a penalty try, as the hosts’ pack turned the screw at scrum time.

Tom Doughty bundled over for Bath’s third on the hour mark, but a third Eden penalty secured victory ten minutes from time, as Bristol Bears ‘A’ took the early bragging rights.

What happened?

A dominant opening period saw Bristol race into a 6-0 lead courtesy of two Tiff Eden penalties in the opening ten minutes. But despite the home side’s early intent - and Levi Douglas' sin-binning - it was Bath United who crossed for the first try of the afternoon, as McConnochie collected de Glanville’s offload to squeeze in the corner.

Michael van Vuuren was then sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, and Bristol responded nine minutes later, as Harry Randall capitalised on a barnstorming break from Sam Graham to score his third try in two games, with Eden converting.

On the stroke of half-time, the hosts extended their lead when Nick Haining dotted down from the base of the scrum following another dominant surge from the pack, with Eden adding the extras again.

Nick Haining touches down on the stroke of half-time (JMP UK).

It was first blood to Bath after the break, as Rhys Davies crashed over from close range – but that was quickly cancelled out by the Bristol pack, whose authority at a five-metre scrum saw the referee award a penalty try.

Tom Doughty touched down on 62 minutes to claw Bath United back into striking range, but Eden’s 70th-minute penalty sealed the deal for Bristol Bears ‘A’, who begin the competition with a derby-day win.

Key moment:

The Bristol Bears 'A' scrum dominated proceedings throughout the 80 minutes - and from one such shove close to the Bath line, Nick Haining scooped up and dived over on the stroke of half time to give Bristol Bears a 13-point lead at the interval. 

Photo of the match:

Head coach, Pat Lam addresses the Bristol Bears 'A' squad after the final whistle (JMP UK).

The teams:

Bristol Bears ‘A’: Tovey; Welsh, O’Conor, Bedlow, Pincus; Eden, Randall; Lay, Lindsay, Thiede, Joyce, Ehizode, Graham, Heenan (c), Haining. Replacements: Capon, Rowland, Dawe, Batley, Fenton-Wells, Cullen, Bates, Smith.

Bath United: Cordwell, van Vuuren, Nixon, Douglas, Ewels, Ellis, Bayliss (c), Reid; Davies, de Glanville, McConnochie, Clark, Wright, Davis, Atkins. Replacements: Doughty, Clermont, Verden, Davies, Grant, Davies, Butt, Partington.

Bristol Bears A
Tries: Randall 27, Haining 40, Penalty 52
Cons: Eden 27, 40
Pens: Eden 3, 8, 70

Bath United
Tries: McConnochie 18, Davies 42, Doughty 61
Cons: Davis 18, 42, 61
Yellow cards: Douglas 2, Van Vuuren 29