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Bristol Harlequins 36 Cirencester 16.

A COMBINATION of injuries, bad luck and a slow start resulted in a first defeat for Cirencester to opposition below them in the league this season.

Missing seven first-team regulars and losing influential captain Alex Hammond early on to a dislocated jaw, left The Whiteway side with a tough task.

A speculative kick ahead and an unlucky bounce caused mayhem for the Cirencester back three and Harlequins capitalised with a try in the corner.

This was followed by a converted score after a defensive mix-up, leaving the away side 12-0 down in as many minutes.

James Fisher restored some pride and converted a couple of penalties to halve the lead and this was followed by a Rhys Owen try which put Ciren within a point of their hosts.

With half-time looming both teams looked to play flowing rugby but the Bristol side had the advantage with their dominant scrum and scored again through a driving maul. Early in the second half, flanker James Renowden had to leave the field temporarily with a dead leg, leaving limited options in the line-out.

Nonetheless, fellow back rower and man-of-the-match Ed Alderman charged around the park like a man possessed and made some telling turnovers.

Looking to close the gap, Ciren started to string phases together and were only prevented from scoring through the referee's whistle or a wayward final pass. Unfortunately, this willingness to get forward let in Harlequins for two further scores.

When Gareth Owen was replaced by Neil Owen in the front row, Ciren looked to score again to restore some pride. They didn’t have long to wait, centre Rhys Owen going over for a second time to give Ciren the last word in a disappointing defeat.