Blues Premiership Select suffer home defeat to Bristol
The Blues Premiership Select suffered a 7-31 defeat to Championship outfit Bristol in the opening fixture of the British and Irish Cup campaign at Sardis Road on Saturday 14th October.
The visitors crossed for four first half tries, securing the bonus point, and despite the home side holding out for the first 29 minutes of the second half, James Newey’s try sealed the victory for Bristol.
Dale Stuckey did strike in the final play of the game with an interception try, with Ben Thomas’ successful conversion bringing the game to an end.
Justin Burnell’s side will travel to Dublin next week to take on Leinster ‘A’ at Donnybrook Stadium, who secured an away victory against Doncaster Knights this afternoon.
Bristol’s Will Hurrell got the game underway, and despite the home side securing possession from the kick off, with Ben Jones clearing the ball, a strong Bristol drive from the resulting line-out gave their side momentum to spread wide.
The ball was fed to wing Aaron Chapman, who evaded the tackles of Dan Fish and Owen Lane to dive over in the corner for an early Bristol score.
Blues PS’ attacking threat amongst the backs was evident in the early stages, when silky hands by full-back Fish released Lane down the right. The powerful wing was given licence to stretch his legs, beating the first man before his foot brushed the touchline.
The following line-out was won against the throw, and after Burnell’s side went through the phases, Hemi Barnes looked through for a score, only for play to be brought back for a forward pass.
The visitors soon ramped up the pressure, however, and despite good defending initially denying Andy Uren, with the scrum half looking destined for a score, a crossfield kick in the next phase of play was spilt loose in the air, allowing the influential Hurrell to dive on the scraps for a score.
It was a quick fire double for Bristol, when Chapman crossed for his second of the afternoon, and Bristol’s third, as a ruthless counter released the young wing clear down the left following a knock-on in midfield.
Blues PS looked to strike back as half time approached, and good work by Blacker from the base of a scrum drew in defenders, allowing the scrum-half to release Lane down the right once again.
The Blues Academy wing steamrolled into the 22 before being taken down by the final man, but with no support, the ball was turned over at a crucial time.
Blacker continued to be a danger to the opposition defence, looking for opportunities to break, and a quick tap penalty saw him slice through the Bristol defence.
However, looking for support on his left, his pass was intercepted by wing Ryan Edwards who launched a devastating counter, with Uren on hand to take the final pass and run in under the posts to build-up a 26-point lead going into the interval.
Both sides had chances early in the second half, with a Dale Stuckey breakaway denied by an earlier knock-on, before the home defence resisted pressure on their own 5m line, winning a crucial penalty.
The second half remained scoreless until the 69th minute, when a quick tap from a 5m scrum penalty caught the home defence napping, allowing replacement James Newey to score in the corner, with Callum Sheedy’s conversion off target.
Harri Millard made a stunning break from deep, following Joel Raikes’ flat pass, to set up a late attack for his team. The centre chipped ahead, with Stuckey gathering, and despite being forced into touch, Blues PS regained possession from a line-out inside Bristol’s 22 as they looked to get on the scoreboard.
Under pressure, Bristol’s Joe Batley was penalised and sent to the sin bin, but the young Blues PS side failed to take advantage of the extra man.
In the final play of the game, Bristol were in the hunt for their sixth try of the afternoon, but Ponty wing Stuckey read a long pass perfectly to intercept, racing away from his own 22m line to score a consolation try for his side, with Ben Thomas adding the extras.
Blues Premiership Select: Dan Fish (Lloyd Rowlands), Owen Lane, Harri Millard, Will Rees-Hole, Dale Stuckey; Ben Jones (Ben Thomas), Dane Blacker (Joel Raikes); Chris Phillips (Ian Jenkins), Ethan Lewis, Will Davies-King (Rhys Carre), Sean Moore, Ben Murphy, Sion Bennett (Luke Crocker), Morgan Sieniawski, Hemi Barnes (Osian Davies)