Bristol 21 Worcester 22: Bristol party falls flat as Drahm puts the boot in

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The Independent Online

There were a few tears at the end, but whether they were a reaction to Bristol's woeful performance or an emotional goodbye to the Memorial Stadium was not known.

As farewells went it was a poor one by Bristol. They created countless chances but failed to convert a single one. They could not even take advantage when two Worcester players were in the sin-bin, one in each half. Worcester's defence, though, was brilliantly organised and never once so much as creaked when the pressure was on.

Earlier this season Worcester had trounced Bristol, outscoring them by three tries to one. This time, fielding a few youngsters, it was three-nil and the third time they had completed a league double over the home team.

Richard Hill, Bristol's director of rugby, said: "It is bitterly disappointing. We had hoped for a fairy-tale ending when Jason Strange went for that late drop goal but Craig Gillies is 6ft 11in [he's 6ft 7in] and he stopped it so it wasn't to be."

Bristol must hope that when they return to the Memorial Stadium after their two-season move to Rodney Parade in Newport, while their home since 1921 undergoes a £40 million facelift, they are still a Premiership side.

They fell behind yesterday as early as the fourth minute when Worcester scored a well-worked try after full-back Chris Pennell fed right winger Miles Benjamin. Jason Strange, the Bristol fly-half, kept the home side in the game with his place kicking, but Sam Tuitupou scored a dazzling solo try and, in the 54th minute, Rico Gear looped around Marcel Garvey to cross for Worcester's third try. Shane Drahm, the replacement fly-half, converted and kicked a penalty to keep a frantic Bristol at bay.

Bristol: L Arscott; L Robinson, R Higgitt, S Cox (N Brew, 48), D Lemi; J Strange, S Perry (capt; G Beveridge, 40); D Hilton (P Bracken, 76), M Regan (S Linklater, 64), D Crompton, M Sambucetti, N Budgett, A To'oala (R Pennycook, 56), D Ward-Smith, I Grieve.

Worcester: C Pennell; M Benjamin, R Gear, S Tuitupou, M Garvey; J Carlisle (S Drahm, 51), M Powell (R Powell, 65); T Windo (C Fortey, 51-70), M Mullan (Fortey, 78), T Taumoepeau (C Horsman, 58), W Bowley, (G Rawlinson, 65), C Gillies, T Wood (N Talei, 51), D Hickey (capt), J Collins.

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).

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