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Championship Table

Pos Pld Pts
1 Nottingham 0 0
2 Bedford Blues 0 0
3 Bristol 0 0
4 Cornish Pirates 0 0
5 Doncaster Knights 0 0
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FULL TIME: Bristol 19 Nottingham Rugby 23


ANOTHER close, tense game saw Nottingham maintain their push for the promotion play offs with a narrow, but deserved, win at Bristol.

The 23-19 scoreline was enough to lift the Green and Whites back above Bedford, who lost by just a couple of points at Newcastle, and into second place in the Championship table.

And it opened up a 13-point gap between Nottingham and fifth placed Leeds Carnegie as the race for the top four reaches its climax.

A penalty from Tristan Roberts put the home side in front following an earlier miss from the outside half, but it was Nottingham who grabbed the first try of the evening.

Ignoring a possible three-point penalty, James Arlidge kicked for the corner and eventually Nottingham managed to drive over, skipper Brent Wilson getting the touch down and Arlidge converting.

Roberts kicked his side back to 6-7 before Ruki Tipuna nailed drop-goal from close range to open a two-point lead at the break.

That was a little harsh on the visitors, who had enjoyed a significant advantage in terms of possession and territory and defended well on the one occasion Bristol threatened their line.

Roberts could have extended the lead in the early minutes of the second half, but his kick fell short, before Alex Lewington then went close for Nottingham.

As Bristol continued to dominate possession over the third quarter they eventually forced a penalty in front of the posts for Roberts to make it 12-7.

It was against the run of play that Nottingham regained the initiative, a storming run down the wing from Joe Duffey taking him deep into the home 22 where he sent Alex Shaw in for a try, Arlidge doing particularly well with the conversion to give his side a two-point lead,

Another miss from Roberts was followed by a brace of penalties from Arlidge to make it 12-20 with ten minutes remaining.

The game was far from over though and a kind bounce presented George Watkins with a soft try, Roberts bringing his side back to within a point with the conversion.

A late penalty from Arlidge completed the scoring.

Bristol 19(G Watkins Try; T Roberts Conv; T Roberts 3 Pen; R Tipuna DG) Nottingham Rugby 23(B Wilson A Shaw Try; J Arlidge 2 Conv; J Arlidge 3 Pens)

Nottingham Rugby: D Jackson, A Lewington, T Streather (sub: J Cobden  41mins), J Munro (sub: A Forsyth), R Hough, J Arlidge, S Romans, J Harris, J Duffey, M Holford (sub: R Bower 79mins), D Montagu, N Rouse, R Cooper (sub: T Calladine 78mins), B Wilson, A Shaw.

Substitutes not used: S Malton, J Quinn, F Barnham,

Referee: D Rose. Attendance: 5,555


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