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By Ian Todd
January 14 2018

Bristol made hard work of overcoming a spirited Doncaster side.  The first half was a close run affair but Bristol's speed of execution and a ruthless edge saw them over the line and claim the try bonus point without ever looking entirely comfortable.

Doncaster kicked off the game and Bristol kept hold of the ball, going through several phases and then kicking out on the full. Bristol then gained possession by claiming the lineout. Bristol pressed forward, Doncaster were penalised and Ian Madigan put the first points on the board.

Bristol then indulged in some of the static passing that so infuriates some supporters promptly lost possession and Challinor, up in support, went over for a converted try for the hosts. Bristol tried to hit back and their task was made far easier when Doncaster gave away a penalty that Madigan sent spiralling into touch. The catch and drive went in and Jason Harris-Wright claimed the honours as the maul almost sprinted over the line.

Some banter on the terraces about a former centre of theirs around the issue of his passing game was terminated by a fine break from the individual under discussion. He made great ground with support on either side before being tackled and brought to ground. Hmm. It allowed Doncaster to apply some pressure and a penalty brought things level a few minutes from half time. Bristol had the last word though with a sweeping move launched from a poor Doncaster kick ahead Mat Protheroe tried to break through and only tackle around his collar held him back. Madigan stepped up and his kick on the stroke of half-time put Bristol three points up at the break.

Bristol were straight back on the scoreboard when Doncaster were penalised right in front of the posts with scarcely a minute of the second period played. However the visitors were pegged back when they conceded a penalty soon after. Bristol then riposted with a lovely try, a sudden injection of pace, quick hands and Rhodri Williams sprinted clear to dot down by the posts for a converted try to make it 13 – 23.

A really soft penalty gave Madigan another go at the posts to move Bristol further in front. Doncaster knocked on when trying to claim the restart and Bristol quickly moved the ball away from the scrum and made their way swiftly into the Doncaster half. The hosts were forced to give away a penalty and Bristol went for touch. It was no surprise at all to see Harris-Wright claim his second of the afternoon.

Doncaster were far from out of things and worked their way patiently forward and this time it was their turn for a sudden injection of raw pace to slice the defence open and Wilson lanced over in the corner for an unconverted try. Bristol still need another try for the bonus point and it looked as if Protheroe had scored only for the referee to rule the final pass had been forward. However another high tackle soon after meant that try-scorer Wilson went to the sin bin for the rest of the game and Bristol made the numbers count when Alapati Leiua romped in down the left wing for an unconverted try that left the final score at 18 – 38.


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