A near full strength Bristol side supported by a vocal crowd had to fight tooth and nail to snatch a win against the Blues at the Memorial Ground.
Bristol had an excellent start with winger Vaughn Going, scoring in the corner within the first two minutes. Welshman Jason Strange converted. There were further problems for the Blues when a knock on by young Blues winger Chris Czejak fell in to the lap of Bristol full back Bernardo Stortoni who raced over from 40 yards to score. With 5 minutes gone the Blues were trailing 12-0. Macleod kicked a penalty before Jason Strange did the same for Bristol to take the score to 15-03.
The game improved for the Blues when a perfectly waited pass from Nick Macleod released Rhys Williams in the centre, his excellent break and pass allowed Craig Morgan to race over to score in the corner. Macleod failed with the conversion and following another Jason Strange penalty and sustained pressure from Bristol the teams went in at half time with the Blues trailing 18-8.
The Blues brought on Andy Powell, Craig Quinell and Rob Sidoli within 5 minutes of the restart. With a more solid forward base the Blues had more of the possession in the second half and looked dangerous when attacking. Craig Morgan was unlucky not to hold on to the ball 50 yards out with no one ahead of him.
The introduction of Nicky Robinson in the 58th minute steadied the ship and the partnership with Wales scrum half Mike Phillips looks very promising for the Blues. Following a good break up field Robinson hacked through and Blues captain Rhys Williams raced over to score. Robinson converted to bring the score to 18-15 and give the travelling fans something to cheer. It didnt last for long as Danny Gray scored a penalty for Bristol to extend their lead to 21-15.
Andy Powell looked lively and powerful around the field and was unlucky not to score when he was pulled down just short of the try line following a period of extended pressure from the Blues. Excellent work from Robinson and Macleod released Craig Quinell who crashed over to score. With Robinson converting it appeared that the Blues had cinched the win in the 79th minute. However with the Bristol kick off leading to a ruck in front of the Blues posts, substitute Danny Gray had just enough time to drop in to the pocked and struck a clean drop goal to clinch victory for the West Country side in front o a 2,705 crowd.