New Zealand international David Hill kicked five penalties on his home debut for Bristol as the west country side bounced back from defeat at Newcastle with a home win over Sale in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP.
All the points in the game came from the boot as the Premiership champions slipped to their second league defeat in their last 11 outings, leaving them without a win at the Memorial Stadium since September 2001.
Bristol made three changes with David Hill moving to fly-half, Sam Cox returning at inside centre and Joe El Abd at openside flanker, while former Otago Highlander Neil Brew started his first game from the bench.
Sale made seven changes with Chris Bell at centre, Steve Hanley on left wing and Sililo Martens at scrum-half. In the pack Sean Cox and Dean Schofield were in the second row with Nathan Evans and Chris Jones the flankers.
Bristol applied the early pressure but the Sharks defended their line well before giving away what looked a simple penalty in front of the posts after nine minutes. But Hill totally miscued his kick with the ball staying low and going left of the upright.
The Sharks took the lead six minutes later when Martens fed the quick ball from a ruck to his half-back partner Daniel Larrechea who slotted home a 22 metre drop goal but was wide with a second attempt a couple of minutes later.
With the light drizzle continuing to swirl around the ground the visitors increased their lead as Larrechea kicked a 30-metre penalty from the Sale left only for Hill to find his target from 25 metres out.
Bristol wing David Lemi charged down a clearance kick from Sharks skipper Jason Robinson but was held back by the former England international when following up.
After playing advantage Robinson received a lengthy lecture from referee Sean Davey when play was called back and Bristol were awarded a penalty for Hill to level the scores on the half hour.
The visitors were reduced to 14 men when England international Chris Jones, playing at openside flanker, was yellow carded for pulling down a rolling maul 10 metres from his own line. Sharks number eight Sebastien Chabal was lucky not to follow Jones to the sinbin when he kicked the ball away after his side were penalised for standing up in the scrum. From the penalty, on the Sharks 10 metre line, Hill put Bristol into the lead.
Bristol kept battering away at the Sale line but they seemed content to concede penalties with Hill increasing the Bristol advantage from 15 metres out with Larrechea slicing his 40-metre penalty attempt on the hour.
The home supporters continued to show their displeasure at Robinson’s earlier misdemeanour every time he had the ball but the booing seemed to have little effect. Hill added a fifth penalty as the game went into the final 10 minutes.
Larrechea sliced a second 40-metre penalty attempt before finding his mark five minutes later.