Josh Adams hopes he has given head coach Carl Hogg a selection headache as his two tries helped Worcester Warriors kickstart their Anglo-Welsh Cup adventure off in style.
Adams scored the first try of the game after only six minutes, but Worcester trailed 13-10 at half-time as Giorgi Nemsadze and the boot of Billy Searle did damage for Bristol.
However, Max Stelling had gone over for Worcester on the stroke of half-time and the hosts carried that momentum over into the second 40.
Adams and Stelling grabbed their second tries of the game while Michael Dowsett dotted down on his Warriors debut.
Bristol came storming back late on through Jack Wallace and Tom Varndell but Worcester held on for the 31-25 victory to mark a fine week for Academy winger Adams, who on Wednesday signed a first-team deal.
Another epic, drama-drenched game at Sixways with Bristol but 5-try Warriors hold on to secure the win! Fantastic start for the youngsters!
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) November 4, 2016
“There was a lot of lads who stuck their hands up tonight, especially in the backs,” the 21-year-old said.
“I thought Max Stelling was outstanding, as well as [Chris] Pennell at full-back and [Andy] Short on the right wing.
“So I think there is a lot of selection questions being asked for next week and that is the kind of headache we need to give the coaches.
“It’s been a very good week obviously signing on at Worcester and scoring the tries. I think this is a great place for a young player with the facilities and the style of rugby suits me really well.
“This is a very good start against a tough Bristol team and it was good for us youngsters to get one over them and we will take the positives and negatives and see what we can do against Wasps next week.”
Worcester’s second-half scoring blitz coincided with Bristol being reduced to 13 men as Rob Hawkins and then Wallace were shown yellow cards in quick succession.
And Bristol Academy Backs Coach Sean Marsden admitted that had cost them on the night, even if her felt his troops could leave Sixways with their head held high.
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) November 5, 2016
“A couple of things didn’t go our way, but we kept that positivity throughout. I can’t fault the young lads,” Marsden said.
“The turning point was the two yellow cards. Ultimately, it cost us. But we defended our line and we showed belief.
“I truly believe we can kick on from this performance. It’s been a difficult week, but we have concentrated on tonight’s game.
“It’s been tough for everyone but we have to move on and we are pleased with how the guys conducted themselves.”
Worcester Warriors: Pennell, Adams, Stelling, Willison (Heathcote 67), Short, Shillcock, Dowsett (De Colthi 64); Leleimalefaga (Bower 54), Singleton (Annett 64), Johnston (Alo 40), Kitchener, Hewitt (Clegg 77), Potgieter, Taylor, Matt Cox.
Replacements not used: Ripper-Smith, Lokotui
Bristol Rugby: Wallace, Varndell, Maule (Arscott 61), Newey, Lemi; Searle, Williams (Uren 61); Tonga’uiha (O’Connell 54), R Hawkins (Shervington 63), Ford-Robinson (Hall 63), Nemsadze, Evans (J Hawkins 65), Koster, Robinson (Smid 63)
Replacements not used: Caven
Tries: Adams 2, Stelling 2, Dowsett
Conversions: Shillcock 3
Tries: Nemsadze, Wallace, Varndell
Conversions: Searle 2
Penalties: Searle 2
Referee: Andrew Jackson