Old Reds eye a return to national league status after latest display
OLD Reds want to use their dramatic Somerset Cup midweek win over Taunton as a springboard for promotion back to National Three South West.
The Bristol side surged into a 20-6 half-time lead at Broad Plain against one of the competition favourites before finding themselves on the ropes at 20-20 as the clock counted down.
But after former Worcester fly-half Tony Yapp missed a penalty for Taunton on the stroke of full-time, Reds managed to take play back up the other end and earned a kick of their own which, with the final play as extra time loomed, replacement Jack Steer nervelessly stroked over from 20 metres to clinch victory.
Delighted player-coach Saul Nelson said: "We said before the game that we had to raise our game – and we did.
"We showed character in abundance. This is an absolutely massive win for us and this level of performance is what we should be aiming for in the rest of our league games.
"We've never made any bones about our desire to go straight back up. And I feel we needed a game like that to prove that we are good enough for the national leagues and that we deserve to be there."
First-half tries from winger Joe Woodward and full-back Joe Hall, both converted by Ashley Groves, who was also on target with two penalties, helped Reds take control of the game at the break.
But Taunton, who play two divisions above Reds, rallied powerfully after the break with tries from George Cooper and Yapp, who also booted both conversions and two penalties.
Reds had to defend desperately for much of the second period but raised their game in a hot-blooded finish, typified by an eight-man drive which splintered the Taunton scrum and boosted spirits for a big finish.
Reds return to South West One West action tomorrow with a trip to bottom side North Dorset.
Barking, who are propping up National Two South, are the visitors at Dings Crusaders.
Promotion-chasing Weston-super-Mare face a challenge at fifth-placed Brixham in National Three South West with Avonmouth away to third-placed Exmouth.