Bristol Ladies miss their big guns in Essex
BRISTOL Ladies returned to winning ways, despite being some way short of their best, during a mistake-ridden display against Premiership strugglers Thurrock.
Bristol undoubtedly missed their influential captain Izzy Noel-Smith, who was injured, both as a leader and a ball-carrying force, during a forgettable and ill-disciplined performance. Bristol, who failed to pick up a predicted try bonus-point, conceded 16 penalties and lost two players to the sin-bin.
Bristol cruised to a 57-0 victory against the Essex-based side when the sides last met earlier in the campaign at The Portway. But a combination of poor finishing, a lack of discipline and complacency by the West Country women, ensured that history didn't repeat itself.
Bristol started brightly enough, and looked to be heading towards a comfortable victory when centre Amy Wilson-Hardy powered her way across the try line for the opening unconverted score.
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But they were unable to pull clear of their plucky hosts, and a series of penalties continued to hamper their progress. Prop Sasha Acheson rumbled over for Bristol's second unconverted try, but the hosts pulled an unconverted try back on the stroke of half-time. Bristol continued to shoot themselves in the foot, and were reduced to 14-players – not once, but twice – when first lock Poppy Davies, then flanker Marlie Packer were yellow-carded for technical infringements.
Bristol secured the spoils with a second-half try, which again went unconverted, by Holly Molesworth. Fourth-placed Bristol will need to up their game this coming weekend, if they are to topple Litchfield Ladies, who sit one place above them in the table. Bristol Ladies 2nds are also at home against local rivals Chipping Sodbury Ladies (2pm kick-off)
Old Reds Ladies consolidated top spot in South West North Two, following their 19-0 victory over Hornette's Ladies. Reds were always in the driving seat, and scored tries through a Niamh Egan double, and one from Georgie Bessell. Joie De Carles slotted two conversions.