Rugby Union: John lifts Bristol

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The Independent Online
Bristol University. .20

Durham University . .13

THIS stunning result and Bristol's place in the UAU final against Loughborough at Twickenham next Wednesday owed almost everything to tenacity triumphing over Durham's fond expectation of victory at Leicester yesterday.

Chris John, a second-year student, put his shoulder to the Bristol wheel and his boot heftily to the ball, scoring all 20 points as befits an aspiring Cardiff outside-half. His smooth partnership with Kyran Bracken, an England A squad member, confounded Durham.

John topped his four place-kicking successes from eight attempts, and a dropped goal, with the game's master-stroke, a 13th- minute try from a quick tapped penalty when all Durham expected him to aim for goal.

Tim Stimpson, the England Universities full-back, did exactly the opposite. With Durham trailing by a point when eight minutes remained, and a match-winning place kick the logical option, Stimpson tapped a penalty without reward. John put the game beyond Durham's reach with two penalty goals, one from inside his own half.

Bristol, five times champions, last won the title in 1972. In their most recent final six years ago, Durham, their conquerors, fielded an embryonic England B centre called Will Carling.

Bristol: Try John; Penalty goals John (4); Dropped goal John. Durham: Try Madderson; Penalty goals Stimpson (2); Conversion Stimpson.

Bristol University: M Singer; A Robertson, M Jones, M Nolan, A Dalwood; C John, K Bracken; J Binks (capt), G Lewys-Lloyd (T Murray, 26), A Reuben, O Johnson, J Nanakorn, G Bulstrode, K Seecharan, A Maynard.

Durham University: T Stimpson; J Yeldham, C Madderson, W Greenwood, C Nwokedi; D Hodge, N Coulter; B Fennell (capt), J Hamilton-Smith, M Havelock, N Alexander, D Sibson, P Kemble, M Savage, B Richardson.

Referee: C Harrison (East Midlands).