Bristol 29, Cornish Pirates 17
An inspired double substitution by Bristol head coach Liam Middleton and 13 unanswered points in the final eight minutes of this tense affair at the Memorial Ground ended the Cornish Pirates' unbeaten start to the season, writes Dick Straughan.
In a mirror-image of last weekend`s first 40 minutes against Plymouth Albion the Pirates struggled for possession and territory, conceding a brace of early penalties from Matt Jones.
Two Kieran Hallett levelled the scores at the end of the first quarter before Bristol took control again with a converted try from Luke Eves before Hallett again pegged them back with a third place kick in stoppage time.
The Pirates however were a different proposition after the break and Hallett added his fourth penalty to cut the home lead to a single pointThen with tempo and forcefully direct play hurting Bristol wing Matt Evans was released for his 6th try of the season as the Cornish side switched play from right to left for the Canada international to race in at the corner.
Jones` 53rd minute penalty made it 17-16 to the Pirates but the visitors looked in control until Middleton brought on Tipuna and Roberts for Grindal and James. Suddenly the game changed.
Roberts restored the home lead with a penalty from in front of the posts and added another in the final minute. The game was finally killed as Tipuna broke from his own 22 and set up Matt Williams for a simple run in to score.
Bristol: Goodridge, Tagicaikibau, Eves, Gadd (Mosses 77), Williams, Jones (Roberts 64), Grindal (Tipuna 64); Traynor, Lawrence, Douglas, Glynn (Townson 71), Winters, Pennycook (Grieve 64), Merriman (capt), Eadie.
Replacements (not used): Channon, Thompson.
Scorers. Tries – Eves, Williams; Cons – Jones, Roberts; Pens – Jones (3), Roberts (2).
Cornish Pirates: Davies, Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa (Penberthy 78), Evans, Hallett, Kessell (Cattle 67); Andrew, Elloway (Yeandle 64), Prescott (M.Maidment 64), Barry (sin-bin 25-35, Lyons 8-13, 57, Johnson, Marriott (capt) (Storer 72), Burgess, B.Maidment (Morgan h/t).
Scorers. Try – Evans; Pens – Hallett.
Yellow card: Barry.
Referee: S.Davey (RFU).