Sonics win West-country Derby

GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS 26 – 39 BRISTOL SONICS The Sonics got their 2010 Midlands Premier campaign off to a winning despite a shaky first half away to local rivals Gloucestershire Warriors.
The Warriors made a good start to an exciting game enjoyed by a good-sized crowd, and led 12-6 after half an hour. But the Sonics’ sharpness in attack coupled with solid defence saw them recover to lead at the break and not let the advantage slip. The Warriors chased them all the way until a drop goal three minutes from time by Dom Swann sealed the win for the visitors.
The Warriors started well and with Andy Brown busy at dummy half began to create pressure but their opening try was a length of the field move finished by Freddie Hodgson. Ben Phillips converted. However, the Warriors defence was struggling and too often the Sonics were able to make easy metres up the middle and it was no surprise that they hit back immediately with Ross Bergin scoring and Swann levelling the scores.
In the next Sonics attack, Al Bryan was sin-binned for a professional foul but the Warriors were the next scorers. Tom James’ huge bomb was dropped by the defence and John Symons was on hand to charge over, Phillips again adding the extras. Just before half time The Sonics delivered a double whammy as James Gross and Ed Tofts scored before the break. Worse was to come as Joel Keen crossed just after the interval, Swann’s two conversions giving the Sonics a ten point lead.
Hodgson grabbed his second try for the Warriors, finishing strongly in the corner but Gross hit back immediately for the Sonics to restore the ten-point lead. Rich Carter then scrambled over for an unconverted try but once again the Sonics responded and Bergin grabbed his second of the day, only for Tom James to step his way over by the posts in reply. Phillips converted to cut the gap to six points.
However, the Warriors could not get any closer and Gary Carpenter broke tackles in midfield to race away to the line for Swann to convert and then add the final nail with a late drop goal.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS: Alan Bryan, Jonny Mauer, Pat Hanslow, Ben Phillips, Freddie Hodgson, Charlie Jones, Tom James (Capt.), Simon Taylor, Andy Brown, Anthony Maka, Tom Patience, Marc Riddel, Dave Potter. Replacements: Dan Price, John Symons, Neys Schreiner, Rich Carter.
Scorers: Tries; Freddie Hodgson (10, 45), John Symons (25), Rich Carter (55), Tom James (68). Conversions; Ben Phillips 3 from 4, Tom James 0 from 1.
BRISTOL SONICS James Gross, Mike Lampard, Ross Bergin, Tom Verber, Martin Klijn, Dom Swann (Capt), Joel Keen, Stafford Lloyd, Ed Tofts, Karl Watkins, Gary Carpenter, James Pritchard, Wes Rogers. Replacements: Matthew Watson-Claraf, Paul Harsent, Dan Wegrzun, Joe Singleton, Alex Dale-McConnell, Matt Cain, Tristian Moore, Mike Ashford.
Scorers: Tries; Ross Bergin (14, 64), James Gross (32, 48), Ed Tofts (35), Joel Keen (41), Gary Carpenter (73). Conversions; Dom Swann 5 from 7. Drop goals; Dom Swann (77). Referee: Melvin Bettridge Penalties: Warriors 13, Sonics 10 Scoring sequence: 6-0, 6-6, 12-6, 12-12, 12-16, (HT), 12-22, 16-22, 16-26, 20-26, 20-32, 26-32, 26-38, 26-39, (FT).
Star Men: Warriors – Tom James Sonics – Wes Rogers