BRISTOL SONICS 38 – 14 GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS
A dominant first half from the Bristol Sonics laid the foundations for their fourth consecutive win over the Warriors.
Warriors featured a much-changed side and it took time for them to gel. Even with Sonics’ captain Dom Swann struggling with a hamstring injury, he was able to pull the strings and the league leaders had too much finishing power for the Warriors.
After six minutes, Dan Stuart-Cummins scored out wide after the Warriors had spurned a good opportunity with a handling error. It was the same story eight minutes later as the Warriors created and wasted a good chance before Neil Evans took an inside ball from Swann to score a fine try converted by Swann.
Minutes later, Ed Tofts scored to increase the lead further before the game fell into a scrappy period with handling errors frequent.
The Warriors began to force the play and chase the game as the half drew to a close and the Sonics punished them. After a break by Harrison Yorke ended in a handling error, Evans rampaged through for his second try and, right on the interval, Martin Klijn picked up a dropped ball to score. Swann converted both to leave the Sonics in charge at 28-0 ahead.
The second half started well for the Warriors and a short pass from Sam Goatley sent Jack Preece racing away for their opening score but Goatley could not convert. However, they could not add another as defences got on top and neither side could break the stalemate.
In the final quarter, the Sonics began to turn the screw and the Warriors were forced to defend consecutive sets of tackles on their own line. Eventually the dam broke and Harry Marson stretched over to score from dummy half. From the restart, Evans crashed through for his third try of the day, John-Jo Burden converting.
However, the Warriors finished strongly and Ben Brinkworth ran a good line to plunge over out wide. Goatley converted superbly from the touchline. Then ‘Special’ Ed Lewis-Tierney escaped from several tacklers to race away down the touchline but was caught and suffered a leg injury.
With the final move of the game, Goatley stole the ball and fine play down a crowded short side released Liam Hemming for a well-taken try and a scoreline that better reflected the Warriors’ second half effort.
BRISTOL SONICS Rory Garratt, Dan Stuart-Cummins, Ed Tofts, John-Jo Burden, Martin Klijn, Dom Swann (Capt), Tim Coghlan, Stafford Lloyd, Harry Marson, Gary Carpenter, Joel Keen, Neil Evans, Wayne Cochran. Replacements: Chris Carter, Dan Wrgyzn, James Pritchard, Carl Watkins, Tom Verber, Johan Schoeman, Tristan Moore.
Scorers: Tries; Dan Stuart-Cummins (6), Neil Evans (14, 32, 68), Ed Tofts (18), Martin Klijn (39), Harry Marson (65). Conversions; Dom Swann 4 from 5, John-Jo Burden 1 from 2.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS: Mike Spencer-Tonks, Harrison Yorke, Jack Preece, Andy Brown, Mike Beswick, Sam Goatley, Tom James (Capt.), Sam Chappell-Davies, Joe Smith, Dan Garbutt, Dale Cook, Daniel Maguire, Rich Carter. Replacements: Scott Udal, Ben Brinkworth, Alex Bailey, Liam Hemming, Ed Lewis-Tierney, Karl Kocerhan.
Scorers: Tries; Jack Preece (42), Ben Brinkworth (74), Liam Hemming (77). Conversions; Sam Goatley 1 from 3.
Referee: Stewart Orton
Man of the match:
Warriors: Dale Cook
Sonics: Wayne Cochran
Penalties: Sonics 4, Warriors 8.
Scoring sequence: 4-0, 10-0, 16-0, 22-0, 28-0, (HT), 28-4, 32-4, 38-4, 38-10, 38-14, (FT).
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