Nottingham had what would have been a vital, and
deserved win snatched away from them in controversial circumstances
at the end of an absorbing afternoon's rugby.
Against one of the best sides in the Championship Nottingham
again defended heroically, and led for most of the game, only to be
denied in the dying minutes as an injury time penalty at the scrum
gave Bristol a 25-24 victory.
The Green and Whites rode their luck a little in the opening
quarter as Bristol spurned three good try-scoring opportunities,
but fought bravely to build up a first half lead.
Despite falling behind in the last ten minutes the Green N
Whites again fought their way back into the lead with a penalty try
deep into injury time, only to concede an even later penalty for
replacement Nicky Robinson to win the game for Bristol
That score was particularly galling as, in the build up to it,
Nottingham second row Dan Montagu was clearly tackled in the air as
he gathered the ball from the kick-off.
An early turnover gave Nottingham the chance to set up the first
attack, and they put together some promising play before knocking
The visitors responded with a flowing attack and should have
scored, but when the ball went loose Nottingham stole and
They then worked their way upfield to win a penalty, which Matt
Jarvis kicked to touch. Although Bristol held up the drive they
missed a tackle when the Green and Whites moved the ball out with
winger Ryan Hough taking advantage to get the game's first try.
Matt Jarvis converted for a 7-nil lead on 11 minutes.
Bristol broke out of their 22 with another threatening attack
down the right and again could have scored when they created a two
man overlap, but made a mess of it and handed possession back to
Their next attack, this time down the left, also saw them create
an overlap but somehow Nottingham kept them out.
Having weathered the storm the Green and Whites began to work a
few good positions and eventually won a penalty, which Matt Jarvis
again put to touch to give them a lineout on the Bristol 22.
Nottingham drove forward and again released the ball with Joe
Munro crashing through for the second try just after the half hour
mark. Matt Jarvis again converted to make it 14-nil.
Bristol hit back strongly to win a penalty. They, too, kicked
for touch and although it looked as though Nottingham had forced
the drive out of play the referee awarded the try, with Ross Rennie
getting the congratulations from his teammates.
That made it 14-5 at the end of an entertaining first
The visitors shoved Nottingham off their own scrum in the
opening minutes of the second half to win a penalty and again went
Again they drove and when Nottingham pulled down the maul, still
some 8 metres from the line, the referee had no hesitation in
running between the posts to award the penalty try, which Adrian
Jarvis converted to bring his side to within two points.
Five minutes later, and following more pressure from Bristol,
Alex Shaw was sin-binned, Adrian Jarvis slotting over the resulting
penalty to give his side the lead for the first time in the
It was a short-lived lead though as Matt Jarvis cancelled out
that score within five minutes.
A second try from Rennie, converted by Robinson, with less than
ten minutes to go looked to have put the game beyond
But after a lengthy stoppage, which eventually saw hooker Alun
Walker stretchered off, it was Nottingham's turn to force a penalty
try, Matt Jarvis making it 24-22 with the simple conversion.
But that last gasp penalty from Robinson gave Bristol the