Bristol's season comes down to these next few games – Grindal
JAMES Grindal has made no attempt to play down the significance of Bristol's upcoming run of fixtures, claiming every game now takes on a "do or die" importance for the club.
Bristol have left themselves plenty to do if they are to finish inside the top four of the Championship and secure a semi-final spot.
Their nine-match run-in begins at home to fellow play-off chasers Leeds this evening, and scrum-half Grindal is eager to make amends for a humbling loss in Yorkshire earlier this season.
The acting skipper, pictured, believes results such as the 50-31 defeat at Headingley and the 63-7 drubbing at Nottingham remain stains on Bristol's season – and is eyeing revenge in their upcoming home matches against the same opponents.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
And that means Liam Middleton, pictured, and his men beating Leeds tonight to stay ahead of Diccon Edwards' side in the race for the top four.
Grindal said: "In the back of my mind is the defeat at Headingley, which stemmed from a very disappointing first half from the team.
"We let ourselves down and it was a hard pill to swallow. We were reeling from that and we want to make up for that game.
"I think those things linger – the Leeds performance and the Nottingham performance. You can even look back to last season and what happened in 20 minutes at Pirates.
"All teams have those periods and it's about trying to keep them to a minimum. We were disappointed with those two early fixtures against two teams we're competing with for that top four – and we need to make sure that when we play them again, in the next few weeks, it doesn't happen again."
Starting this evening, Bristol still have to face four of the five sides above them – including away trips to leaders Newcastle and Bedford, who are third. And, while Grindal believes the following few weeks will prove pivotal in determining whether or not Bristol end up in the play-off places, he feels their recent 14-8 win over Ulster Ravens in Belfast proved they can handle pressure.
"Ulster away was a do or die game and this weekend it's a massive game again," he said.
"If we were to get into the top four, we'll have played some big-pressure games this calendar year, which will put us in good stead.
"But obviously we won't get there unless we do a job initially in these big games. Every game is do or die for us from now on.
"Ulster was a good confidence-booster after a difficult game at Pirates. We have a big block of games now but it's do or die this weekend. This is a pivotal game and, as captain, I want to reiterate that to the players. I want the players to feel the pressure, because when our backs are against the wall and the players are feeling desperate to win, that's when it produces the best performances."
Publicly, Bristol's players spent the weeks leading up to their clash with Ulster Ravens and the game against Cardiff – which was postponed – claiming the Leeds match was not on their minds.
But now it's upon them, Grindal has revealed he has been eager to face the Yorkshiremen since Bristol's 32-17 New Year's Day loss at Cornish Pirates.
"We have been taking it game-by-game – and we took, and are taking, the B&I Cup very seriously, because we want a home quarter-final," he said. "This is a massively important game, not only in terms of the points on offer, but also where Leeds are."
Read Steve's stories by following SteveCotton at www.thisisbristol.co.uk