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Bristol comfortably hold off Bath

18 Nov 2006
Bristol comfortably hold off Bath

Bristol comfortably held off the challenge of near-neighbours Bath to consolidate their position behind leaders Gloucester in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP.

The result meant a fourth successive league defeat for Bath and it could not have been a more painful experience for the home supporters.

It is more than 20 years since Bristol enjoyed clear superiority over their derby rivals but the outlook is looking bleak for Bath these days.

After a dismal series of performances Bath were hoping the return of Danny Grewcock from England and Olly Barkley after injury would change their fortunes.

But Bristol held off their challenge and clinched victory with a 66th-minute try from wing Lee Robinson.

It was Barkley who missed the chance to open the scoring after just two minutes and Bristol swept down to the other end and forced a penalty which was converted by fly-half David Hill.

The video referee ruled out a dive to the corner flag by Rob Hawkins after nine minutes and that was the signal for 10 minutes of fierce Bath pressure before Barkley levelled the score from close range with a 20th-minute penalty.

Bath might have expected more for their efforts but Bristol pilfered three line-outs in a row and the momentum slowed.

The visitors were giving away too many penalties, however, and Barkley punished them again after 26 minutes.

The siege was lifted when Bristol number eight Dan Ward-Smith led a break-out and it was Bath’s turn to defend, desperately at times, with the biggest tackles coming from Grewcock and Matt Perry.

Bath’s scrum was coming under increasing pressure and after four resets Hill took the chance to kick a penalty on the stroke of half-time to make it 6-6.

The hosts came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half but could find no way through and when back on the defensive conceded another penalty to Hill after 50 minutes.

Barkley quickly replied with a long-range effort but was guilty of missing touch on other occasions.

Robinson might have scored a try for Bristol but spilled the ball with the line open before Hill kicked his fourth penalty on the hour.

The try that counted came six minutes later as Hill worked Robinson through a gap from the 22-metre line and then converted the try.

Barkley kicked his fourth penalty with 10 minutes remaining but Bristol held out comfortably for the win.

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