Smith grabs two tries as North Bristol edge out Harlequins
WINGER Carl Smith celebrated his 200th appearance for North Bristol with two second half tries to help clinch a dramatic 17-16 home win in the season opener against Bristol Harlequins.
Quins, making full use of the considerable wind, were 11-0 clear at the break and appeared on course to close out a mistake-riddle match thanks to a 16-10 lead with eight minutes to go.
But visiting lock Dan Pearce had a youthful rush of blood at a ruck, flying in after the whistle had blown. And his inevitable sin-binning gave North an extra man advantage which they immediately made count, kicking the resulting penalty to touch and then winning the line-out to rumble 15 metres for hooker Richard Mortimer to touch down, Dan Snow adding the decisive conversion.
That score put North in front for the first time and they comfortably held on for a win which delighted new skipper Alex Cue.
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The scrum-half said: "We've had a good pre-season and it's good to start with a win, but there's plenty to build on, including converting pressure into more points."
Ross Hickery landed two first-half penalties for the visitors, while, in time added on, Scott Manning squeezed in at the corner for an unconverted try.
North drew within a point thanks to Smith, who was twice put away by flanker Chris Underwood into the corner. But Quins had the next word, man-of-the-match flanker Lee Jones stealing a line-out for his side to charge upfield and for Hickery to eventually touch down. Barry Stone added an important conversion.
Newly-promoted Old Bristolians made a terrific start with a 35-22 home defeat of Berry Hill. Jack Price opened the scoring with a penalty, followed by his own converted try under the posts. Debutant centre Henry Bird scored from close range on the left, before second row Charlie Caton touched down under the posts. Price converted and added a penalty to make it 25-5 at the break.
Berry Hill then used the wind to fight back and claim two tries of their own before Bird intercepted on half way and scored under the posts to secure the bonus point. Price kicked the conversion and added a penalty to complete an excellent win.
Hornets cruised to a 62-11 home defeat of Yatton, running in ten tries through Matt Parker (2), James Collings, James Letherby, Joe Gadd, Matt Cornish, Darran Griffiths, Dave Geddes and Alex Chase. Jermain Jones booted six conversions.
Avon edged Barton Hill 17-15, converting a try with the last kick of the game to snatch victory.