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REPORT: Saracens Storm 48-5 Bristol United

Bristol United's hopes of progressing into the semi-finals of the Aviva A League came to an emphatic end at Allianz Park as they fell to a 48-5 defeat to Saracens Storm on Monday night. 

The home side ran in eight tries to record a comfortable bonus-point victory and book their own place in the competition's last four, while BJ Edwards' second half try was all United had to show for their spirited efforts. 

What happened?

An early Storm try - courtesy of Jared Saunders who crashed over following a strong driving maul - was the only notable action of a scrappy first 30 minutes as the sides battled it out on a clear and dry evening in Barnet.

The hosts dominated possession and territory but were met by a dogged United defence, led by skipper Olly Robinson, returning from an injury lay-off. When the visitors did get their hands on the ball, wing Maliq Holden (Hartpury College) looked dangerous down the left-hand side, twice breaking from deep.

Storm eventually ended the United resistance with a second try on the half hour mark when Nick Tompkins scampered through the midfield, with Jake Sharp adding the extras from under the posts.

The centre crossed for his second and Storm’s third on the stroke of half time after Newey’s clearance was charged down. Sharp converted for a 17-0 half time score line.

Andy Uren takes on the Saracens Storm defence at Allianz Park (JMP UK).

It was more of the same after the break as Tompkins sliced through the United defence and Tom Lindsay crashed over from close range.

Bristol responded and Matt Welsh’s break and offload almost sent Andy Uren in for their first try of the evening. The scrum half was hauled down metres short, but it mattered not, as Aaron Chapman’s neat footwork forced an opening and BJ Edwards burrowed over in the corner.

Storm replied with a fifth when Mike Ellery finished off a flowing handling move – and replacement Tim Streather added a sixth ten minutes from time as the hosts strengthened their grip.

Tom Pashley’s surging break from the base of the scrum took play into the Sarries 22, but a turnover and sharp counter attack saw Kelly Brown sprint in from 30 metres for Storm’s seventh of the evening.

Neil De Kock’s try capped a comfortable Sarries win as United signed off their A League campaign with a defeat.

Bristol United: Charlie Amesbury, Maliq Holden (Hartpury College), Matt Welsh (Clifton College), James Newey, Aaron Chapman (Kings College Taunton); Sam Leeming, Andy Uren; Ollie Dawe, Ryan Roach (Cardiff Met), Alec Clarey, BJ Edwards, John Hawkins, Tom Pashley (Hartpury), Jack Capon, Olly Robinson (c).

Replacements: Nick Freeman (Clifton College), Tom Rowland (BGS), Nick English (SGS Filton), Will Mortimore (Swansea Uni), Sam Taylor (SGS Filton), Robbie Forbes (Hartpury), Sam Leeming (Hartpury), Tom Hargan (Clifton College).

Key moment:

Nick Tompkins' quick-fire double shortly before half-time ended a stubborn United resistance and set Storm on their way to a bonus-point victory at Allianz Park.

Photo of the match:

BJ Edwards stretches out to score Bristol United's only try of the evening (JMP UK).

Man of the match: Matt Welsh

The club today announced that the Academy U18 centre has signed professional terms ahead of next season - and Welsh put in an eye-catching display on his Bristol United debut. The Clifton College pupil carried well in attack and one second half break almost led to a try for Andy Uren, while his defence was assured throughout. Certainly one-to-watch for the future.