Rugby Union: Larkin around lifts Bristol

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BRISTOL capitalised on Worcester's defeat at Rotherham to extend their lead in Allied Dunbar Premiership Two with an emphatic 36-8 home victory over Waterloo. The Australian centre Adam Larkin, the division's leading try-scorer, boosted his season's tally to 10 with two of the home team's six touchdowns. The result enabled Bristol, beaten last weekend at Worcester, to reopen a two-point lead over their rivals.

Lenny Woodard, the on-loan Ebbw Vale wing who scored a hat-trick of tries on his London Welsh debut against Fylde last weekend, went over again to seal an 11-7 win for the Exiles over Rugby at Old Deer Park. Orrell lost 23-21 at home to Exeter despite two tries from Kirk Johnson. The New Zealander John Clarke also touched down twice to make it "lucky 13" for Blackheath who finally chalked up a league victory - 24-17 over Fylde at Rectory Field - after 12 successive defeats.

Manchester maintained their points-difference lead in Jewson National League One with a 27-0 eclipse of Harrogate while their nearest rivals, Henley, struggled before seeing off Rosslyn Park 18-15. David Pears, the former England fly-half, provided all of mid-table Wharfedale's points as they beat visitors Newbury 23-10.

Heriot's FP stretched their lead at the top of the Tennent's Velvet Premiership in Scotland to nine points with a 32-19 home success over Watsonians, and then ran into fierce criticism from their assistant coach Kenny Milne. The former Lions hooker said: "Keep playing like that and we'll struggle to go on winning. We made too many mistakes."

The outcome was in doubt until late on when Milne's men awoke from their slumbers with tries from Stuart Walker, Charlie Keenan and John Melvin.

Heriot's title challenge received a further boost with the 24-0 defeat inflicted on second-placed Melrose at West of Scotland, whose full-back, Gary Curtis, contributed 19 points.

Lansdowne, 15-3 winners over their visitors Clontarf, head the Irish First Division by two points after yesterday morning's leaders, Blackrock College, went down 26-24 at home to Shannon, the champions for the last four seasons.

In the fourth round of the Swalec Cup, there were no serious upsets even though the Premier Division sides Bridgend, Newport and Caerphilly were all run a little too close for comfort by Treorchy, Llanharan and Narberth respectively. Pontypridd won the only all-Premier Division contest by thrashing Aberavon 71-15 at Sardis Road, and there were also comprehensive victories for Swansea, Ebbw Vale, Neath and the holders Llanelli over Risca, Wrexham, Treherbert and Pontyclun.

The Welsh Rugby Union decided yesterday to delay identifying the four clubs which might represent the Principality in a British League or cross- border competition next season.

SWALEC CUP, Fifth-round draw: Group A: Pontypool Utd v Ebbw Vale; Group B: Cross Keys or Dunvant v Trimsaran; Group C: Talywain v Bridgend; Group D: Whitland v Pontypool; Group E: Penygraig v Neath; Group F: Llanhilleth v Ystradgynlais; Group G: Swansea v Newport; Group H: Hirwaun v Tondu; Group I: Caerphilly v Cwmavon or Bedwas; Group J: Maesteg v Blackwood; Group K: Llanelli v Ynysybwl; Group L: Cardiff or Llandovery v Abertillery; Group M: Cwmllynfell v Pontypridd; Group N: Tredegar v Rumney; Group O: Ystrad Rhondda v Aberavon; Group P: Bonymaen v UWIC.

Ties to be played 30 January.