Bristol Sonics produced an impressive second half performance to overcome battling St Albans Centurions 24-18 and end their first Conference League 3 season on a high.The Sonics were below par by recent standards, and had to produce a “purple patch” midway through the second period to finally put away a gutsy St Albans side who were struggling with injuries,The win was Bristol’s fifth in six outings, a run that has seen them move off the foot of the table and finish three points short of the play-off places.It was a win they really had to battle to achieve. St Albans were the better of the two sides in the first half, and were arguably unlucky to be behind at half time. Although there wasn’t much in it, Bristol found it hard to find any fluency and were guilty of giving away too many cheap penalties. Thankfully, they did enough to stay in the game and brilliantly moved through the gears in the second half.The visitors had far the better of the early exchanges, completing their attacking sets and defending stoutly. Bristol, on the other hand, failed to complete any of their first three sets of six, dropping the ball while trying to attack in their own half. It wasn’t long before St Albans took advantage, full back Alessandro Ricci diving over wide out following a right-to-left passing move. Gareth Waters added the first of three successful conversions to put the Centurions 6-0 ahead.Bristol looked sluggish and lethargic, but were soon back in the game. On 15 minutes they worked their way into the St Albans’ 20 and forced a goal line drop out, skipper Dom Swann just inches away from touching down his own grubber kick. From the resulting set of six, Rob Verber strolled in on the left after good work from Swann and hooker Joe McKenna.St Albans’ livewire hooker Ryan Kambouris went close to scoring on 22 minutes, before a penalty for crossing allowed the Sonics to work their way down field and create the space for Tom Verber to storm through some weak tackles and touch down following a 40 metre break. Swann’s conversion made it 10-6 to the home side.Despite taking the lead, Bristol still weren’t themselves and continued to invite pressure thanks to needless penalties and simple errors. It wasn’t too much of a shock when St Albans regained the lead on 31 minutes. The Sonics defence looked vulnerable to the inside pass all day, and it was a switch play that created the room for prop Dylan Rampling to barge over from 10 yards out.

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