Premiership: Bristol Bears 17-10 Bath in season opener

Alapati Leiua scored Bristol’s only try in their victory over Bath
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol Bears (6) 17
Try: Leiua Pens: Madigan 4
Bath (0) 10
Try: Homer Con: Priestland Pen: Priestland

Bristol Bears marked their return to the Premiership with a memorable 17-10 victory over West Country rivals Bath.

Three Ian Madigan penalties put last season’s Championship winners 9-0 up early in the second half.

Tom Homer, who dropped the ball when trying to touch down in the first half, crossed to get Bath on the board and a Rhys Priestland penalty put them ahead.

But Madigan’s fourth penalty put Bristol back in front before Alapati Leiua’s try clinched victory.

Leiua crossed again in the opposite corner shortly afterwards but the try was correctly ruled out for a forward pass, prompting Bristol to have to endure a nervy finale as Bath won a 5m line-out with 30 seconds left.

But the Blue, Black and Whites were penalised for the throw not being straight, and when Bristol booted the ball out of play from the resulting scrum, referee JP Doyle’s final whistle sparked joyous celebrations among a club record home crowd of 26,079 at Ashton Gate.

More to follow.

Bristol: Daniels; Morahan, Hurrell, Pisi, Leiua; Madigan, Stirzaker; Thomas, Thacker, Afoa, Holmes, Vui, Luatua (capt), Smith, Crane.

Replacements: Malton, Woolmore, Armstrong, Latta, Lam, Uren, Sheedy, Edwards.

Sin-bin: Pisi (60)

Bath: Homer; Rokoduguni, Willison, Roberts, Cokanasiga; Priestland, Cook; Catt, Walker, Thomas, Attwood, Garvey (capt), Mercer, Underhill, Faletau.

Replacements: Dunn, Vaughan, Perenise, Stooke, Louw, Green, Burns, Brew.

Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)

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