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Bristol v London Scottish – 11th September

Bristol v London Scottish – 11th September

Fresh from their victory over Rotherham Titans last weekend, London Scottish play their first away fixture of the season at Bristol this coming Sunday, with a 3pm kick off. The team will be heading down the M4 for a very tough away fixture at the Bristol Memorial Ground. This fixture restores a long tradition of matches between the clubs and promises to be a hard encounter and one where London Scottish will need to be at their very best.

Fresh from their victory over Rotherham Titans last weekend, London Scottish play their first away fixture of the season at Bristol this coming Sunday, with a 3pm kick off. The team will be heading down the M4 for a very tough away fixture at the Bristol Memorial Ground. This fixture restores a long tradition of matches between the clubs and promises to be a hard encounter and one where London Scottish will need to be at their very best.

Bristol Rugby club was established in 1888 when two local clubs, Carlton and Redland Park merged to create the club. The original ground was the County cricket ground in Nevil Road. The famous Bristol blue and white hoops were first worn in the 1891/92 season and have remained the distinctive club colours and for many years the club used letters rather than the traditional shirt numbering system. The club moved to its current home in 1921 when the Memorial ground was built. With the advent of the league structure the club developed the ground by replacing the old Shed on the north side of the ground with the Centenary stand to mark the club’s 100th anniversary in 1988. In the mid 1990’s, Bristol Rovers football club moved in as tenants, however two years later when Bristol Rugby club encountered financial difficulties they lost control of the ground to Bristol Rovers and have remained tenants in their original home.

MPU

Since the creation of the Premiership in the 1997/98 season the Bristol club has only spent 6 seasons out of the top flight, however this season will see Bristol embark on their third consecutive season in the Championship. Two season ago the club failed to gain an immediate return to the top flight when they lost out to Exeter Chiefs in the Championship playoff final. This loss led to a financial meltdown at the club and they suffered an exodus of their more experienced players who moved onto pastures new. The club placed a reliance on their younger players last season and also brought through a number of their Academy players. Last season was one of consolidation for the club, which saw the club finishing just outside the relegation play off positions. It was not all doom and gloom for the West Country outfit as they won the British & Irish Cup, which for a struggling side was a truly remarkable performance.

Over the summer a change of Head Coach took place, with former Bristol Academy coach and Zimbabwean born Liam Middleton taking over in the hot seat after long serving Head Coach and former player Paul Hull's resignation. Liam has recruited a number of new players during the close season and has re-shaped the squad. He has brought in hooker Rhys Lawerence from Llanelli Scarlets, fly half Tristan Roberts and winger Matt Williams from Doncaster Knights, Fautua Otto a centre from Samoa who just missed out on selection for their World Cup squad and scrum half Louis Silver from Worcester Warriors. Last weeked, Bristol opened their Championship season with an emphatic 38 – 12 away win against Doncaster Knights. Four players made their debuts last Saturday; Tristian Roberts, Matt Williams and Bath duo back rower Josh Ovens and scrum half Matt Keyte and by all accounts it was an impressive win.

Scottish will be buoyed by their opening performance, especially with the dominance exerted by the scrum. Sunday's game will however be another massive step up and will require total focus for the full duration of the match. The squad are clearly working hard to maintain the high standards set and will be determined to come away with the win. Those Scottish supporters planning to make the trip over to Bristol are reminded that the club are organising a coach which will be leaving the Scottish ground in Richmond at 11.45am on Sunday, costing £10 return. Please contact John Hewitt at HewJo6@aol.com to book your seat. Those driving and using SatNav should enter the postcode BS7 0AQ. For the non-techies leave the M4 at junction 19 and join the M32 leaving this at junction 2, taking the third exit signposted Horsfield and Southmead. Continue along this road through a division and a roundabout both of which have clear signs to the Memorial Stadium. Continue for a further 1.5 miles until you reach signal-controlled crossroads. Proceed through this junction and up to the next set of traffic lights where you should turn left into Filton Avenue with the ground almost immediately on the left. Please note the ground is in a residential area and parking should be available within 10 minutes walk of the ground, but don't park on Horsfield Common as you will potentially be wheel clamped. Those travelling by train from London should get off at Bristol Parkway and catch a taxi to the ground, which is just over 3 miles away. See you all at the match and C'mon Scottish!

For two players in the London Scottish playing squad; Alex Clarke and Josh Brown (pictured), the Bristol match on Sunday will see them returning to their former club and no doubt they will be all aiming to make it a successful return. Finally, best wishes to the Scotland rugby squad who play their opening match of the 2011 World Cup on Saturday against Romania, from all at London Scottish.
 

Bristol 32 – 13 London Scottish

Bristol 32 – 13 London Scottish

A brace of tries by London Scottish full back John Bordiss in the second half were the Scottish highlights in a match dominated during the middle half of the game by the Bristol forwards. Full credit must go to the Scottish side for their perseverance and tenacity against a polished Bristol side in front of a passionate West Country crowd close to 5000.

A brace of tries by London Scottish full back John Bordiss in the second half were the Scottish highlights in a match dominated during the middle half of the game by the Bristol forwards. Full credit must go to the Scottish side for their perseverance and tenacity against a polished Bristol side in front of a passionate West Country crowd close to 5000.

On an overcast windy day London Scottish kicked off playing into a strong cross wind. Scottish made two late changes to their starting line up with fly half Dan Mugford replacing James Brown and Roman Piotrowski coming in on the wing, with Ollie Grove moving to centre replacing Ben McDougall.

MPU

The opening phases of the game were evenly played with neither team in the ascendancy. Scottish opened the scoring on the 9th minute when Bristol were penalised for deliberately pulling down a ruck on the Bristol 10 metre line, with fly half Dan Mugford converting. Bristol had an opportunity to equalise a couple of minutes later, but fly half Tristian Roberts pulled his kick to the left of the posts. Parity in the scores came on the15th minute when Roberts converted a penalty conceded by the Scottish defence. On the 19th minute, Bristol opted to kick for the corner after the Scottish pack were again penalised. At the subsequent line out, the Bristol No 8 Iain Grieve caught the ball at the back of the line out and was driven over by his fellow forwards. Roberts converted to push the home side 10 – 3 up.

On the 34th minute the Scottish backs made a searing half break through centre Gary Trueman deep into the Bristol half. The ball was recycled a number of times by the Scottish forwards, which forced the Bristol pack to concede a penalty on their 22m line. Mugford took the penalty, which appeared close, however the match officials did not award the conversion. Scottish conceded the final points of the first period close to the half time whistle, when they were caught off side at a ruck which Roberts duly converted to leave the half time score 13 -3 in favour of the home side.

Two minutes into the second half the Bristol backs scored a tremendous try when good inter-play eventually saw the ball being fed out to winger Matt Williams who dived over in the corner. Roberts missed the conversion in the swirling wind. The Bristol forwards were now putting their opposite numbers under severe pressure and on the 47th minute their control paid off when following a catch and drive at a line out, flanker James Merriman was driven over and Roberts converted the extras. Bristol nearly scored another try on the 51st minute, but excellent covering tackling by the Scottish defence prevented winger Williams scoring as he was driven into touch close to the try line. Bristol scored their fourth and bonus point try on the 56th minute, when centre Junior Fatialofa scored an excellent try with Roberts again converting.

In the closing quarter of the game Scottish began to put the Bristol side under pressure and the home side began to concede an increasing number of penalties in their 22m. The pressure was getting to the Bristol backs and centre Jack Tovey was yellow carded on the 70th minute for a high tackle on full back John Bordiss as he came into the line. Three minutes later Bordiss was on score sheet as the Scottish backs switched play and Bordiss cut through to score. Mugford missed the conversion attempt. Scottish scored their second try of the match close to the final whistle, when Bordiss again broke through some weak tackling to force himself over the white wash, leaving a final score of 32 – 13.

This match was another big learning curve to life in the Championship, against a well established outfit. Lessons will have be learned by the Scottish players, against a team who were quicker to the breakdown in numbers and a Bristol “street savvy” side who played the offside rule to perfection. The team now moves onto a home fixture next Saturday against Cornish Pirates. Look out for match preview later in the week.

John Bordiss was chosen by David Quaite as the Away Game Supporters Man of the Match.

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