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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, June 15th 2021

Road to the Play-Offs: five key moments

In what has been another dramatic season, take a look back at five key moments on our road to the Gallagher Premiership Play-Offs.

The boot of Bedlow

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 in round three.

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.

Sandy Park siege

In round six, the Bears delivered an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball to beat Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park for the second season running and soar to the top of the Gallagher Premiership.

Tries in either half from Harry Randall and Semi Radradra cut through an ice-cold afternoon in Devon and cancelled out Jonny Hill’s 35th-minute effort, while Callum Sheedy was faultless from the tee with two conversions and two penalties.

It was a fifth successive Gallagher Premiership win for Pat Lam’s side, who would remain top of the tree for the remainder of the season.

Derby demolition

Bristol Bears continued their fine run of form with a West Country derby demolition of local rivals Bath in record-breaking style at Ashton Gate.

It was a biggest-ever Premiership win, and a biggest-ever win over Bath for Pat Lam’s men, who ran in five first-half tries to storm into a 34-3 lead at the interval, as Luke Morahan, Charles Piutau, Andy Uren and a Bryan Byrne double blew Bath away in a breathtaking 40-minute spell.

It was more of the same after the break, as man of the match Andy Uren’s flat pass allowed Semi Radradra the opportunity to weave his magic across the Ashton Gate turf and race in from 60 metres.

The late, late show

The Bears have made a habit of leaving it late, and they did so again in the most dramatic of fashion against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens in round 14, scoring twice in the final five minutes to snatch a bonus-point win.

In a remarkable finale, Luke Morahan’s try and Sam Bedlow’s touchline conversion levelled the scores with five minutes left to play – and immediately from the restart, Fitz Harding’s break and pinpoint pass located Andy Uren, and the scrum-half raced clear to earn all five points for Pat Lam’s men.

Earlier in the piece, tries from Henry Purdy and Siva Naulago had fired the Bears into a 14-0 lead, only for a revitalised Saints to hit back with 21 unanswered points, courtesy of scores from Nick Isiekwe, George Furbank and 11 points from the boot of James Grayson.

But after Morahan’s converted try, Harding scooped up a loose ball and fed Uren to seal the unlikeliest of bonus-point wins.

Kyle sinks Quins

Trailing by 12 points with just sevens minutes remaining, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the Bears' habit of snatching victory from jaws of defeat would be unable to save them this time around. You would have been wrong.

A 75th-minute penalty try edged Pat Lam's men within range, before former Quins player, Kyle Sinckler powered over to level the scores with the clock in the red. From here, Callum Sheedy marked his 100th competitive appearance for Bristol Bears with the match-winning touchline conversion, as the Bears snatched a bonus-point victory.


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