RUGBY: Cirencester pull off memorable comeback victory
1:57pm Monday 18th February 2013 in Sport
Tribute Western Counties North.
Cirencester 29 North Bristol 23.
AN INCREDIBLE second-half comeback, in which Cirencester scored 22 unanswered points, secured a bonus-point victory against a well-drilled Bristol side.
Still missing five influential first team players, including captain Alex Hammond, Cirencester showed real grit and determination to claw back a result, having started the second half 16 points adrift.
In beautiful conditions, Ciren started slowly and conceded three early penalties and a yellow card to put them on the back foot. Having struggled to get any possession, Ciren eventually started stringing phases together and opened their account with a fine team try finished by James Fisher after some good link play by Adam Seager and Ben Rayola.
The home side were then pegged back and conceded two quick-fire converted tries against the run of play, going into the half-time break with a sizeable gap to close. The response was instant, Matt Harman scoring in the corner following a good line-out steal and drive along with quick hands in the back line involving Seager and Andy Halsey.
This ignited the crowd and the players reacted, dominating the second half with some outstanding rugby. Veteran Gareth Parry added to the scoreboard following a magnificent break by Tom Dykes and Scott Brandreth, who kept the ball alive superbly.
The fourth try sealed the bonus point. Colt Will Hunt put in a big hit in the midfield forcing a penalty. Parry took it quickly, releasing Will McCarthy, who handed off a couple defenders before popping the ball to the insatiable Fisher as he burst through the defence to score under the posts. The conversion and a further penalty were also added.
North Bristol launched one final attack but were thwarted again. In the last play of the game, a line-out on the Ciren line was stolen and Nick Handy dived on the ball secure a memorable victory.
MoM: James Fisher.