Voyce's jet-powered try sinks Bristol
Wasps 21 Bristol 16
Saturday 05 November 2005
However, overall, it was a poor game, with the greasy surface of the pitch contributing to the scrappiness of a dank autumn evening. For Bristol, the bonus point that they gained was some consolation for a spirited performance in which their No8, Geraint Lewis, shone.
Bristol had muscled their way into Wasps' faces almost from the start. After Alex King, Wasps' outside-half, had missed an early penalty, Bristol stole a line-out and hung on to the ball through about half a dozen phases - with the captain Matt Slater prominent. Then, Mark Regan, the former England hooker, was driven over under the posts for his first try back at Bristol. The fly-half Jason Strange converted.
There was a prolonged interruption while King received treatment on his right ankle, which he had injured when trying to kick a loose ball, on which Bristol's thrusting centre Sam Cox fell.
Yet the treatment worked and King stayed on, which was just as well because he was at least able to get his side on to the scoresheet with a 28th-minute penalty. Unfortunately, that was sandwiched between two from Strange.
The scrappy spectacle continued, with too many stoppages. One of those came when Cox opted to trip Paul Sackey just as the Wasps winger burst through.
It was to prove a costly error. Wasps were only about 20 metres inside their own half at the time. However, Cox was sent to the sin bin, then the resultant penalty kick for touch set up an attacking line-out for the home side, and the flanker Tom Rees powered over in the right-hand corner. Although King was unable to convert, Wasps were back in the match. At half-time, the home side trailed 13-8.
Cox did not reappear after the interval, being replaced by Mark Denney, a former Wasp, but that change had little effect. Bristol pressed hard, but still conceded too many penalties, one of which was within King's range and narrowed the gap to two points.
Then came a telling moment in the 54th minute. A scrum about 10 metres from the Wasps' line disintegrated and, out of the wreckage, around the blindside, emerged Wasps' left winger Tom Voyce, who had just been released from England duties on Thursday.
His rocket-propelled 90-metre run left half a dozen would-be tacklers floundering in his jet-stream and he slid triumphantly over the line for a try, which King converted. It was just as well because ten minutes later Bristol had closed the gap with a third penalty by Strange. But yet again, Bristol conceded a penalty and King happily converted.
Wasps: Tries: T Rees, T Voyce; Conversion: A King; Penalties: A King 3.
Bristol Try: M Regan; Conversion: J Strange; Penalties: J Strange 3.
Wasps: J Brooks (R Hoadley, 74); P Sackey, A Erinle, S Abbott, T Voyce; A King, E Reddan; T Payne, R Ibanez (B Gotting, h-t), J Dawson (P Bracken, 49), G Skivington, R Birkett, J Hart, T Rees, L Dallaglio (capt).
Bristol: V Going; M Stanojevic, R Higgitt, S Cox )M Denney, h-t), D Lemi; J Strange, J Rauluni; D Hilton (A Clarke, 62), M Regan, D Crompton, R Winters, G Llewellyn, M Salter (capt), J El Abd, G Lewis.
Referee: D Rose (Birmingham).
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