Match summary – Bristol Bears 61-19 Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby suffered a heavy Premiership Rugby Cup defeat to Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate.
Bristol backs Rich Lane and Jack Bates crossed in the first half before Bryan Byrne and Niyi Adeolokun grabbed braces.
Bath Academy flanker Mackenzie Graham ran in for a try on his senior debut ahead of second-half scores from Joe Simpson and Tom Prydie.
George Kloska, Mitch Eadie and Piers O’Conor confirmed the scoring for Bears with Tiff Eden converting eight tries in total.
Graham and Jordan Venter were named in a Bath Rugby senior side for the first time while Josh Dingley and Ma’afu Fia earned their full debuts.
Bristol also made a host of changes but went for experience in the pack with Dave Attwood, Dan Thomas, Mitch Eadie and Ed Holmes all starting in the back five.
Bristol Bears: 15 Rich Lane, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Jack Bates, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Matthew Jones, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Theo Strang; 1 Ashley Challenger, 2 Bryan Byrne, 3 Jake Armstrong, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 John Hawkins (c), 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Mitch Eadie
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Tom Sims, 18 George Kloska, 19 James Dun, 20 Macennzie Duncan, 21 Pete Carter, 22 Jac Lloyd, 23 Harry Rowson
Bath Rugby: 15 Darren Atkins, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jordan Venter, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 10 Orlando Bailey ©, 9 Joe Simpson; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 4 Will Spencer, 5 Josh Dingley, 6 Mackenzie Graham, 7 Richard de Carpentier, 8 Nahum Merigan
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Kieran Verden, 19 Valery Morozov, 20 Harry Casson, 21 Ollie Fox, 22 George Worboys, 23 Will Butt
Bedford Blues loanee Lane got Bristol off to a fast start despite Gabriel Hamer-Webb’s excellent last-ditch tackle a couple of phases previous.
The hosts’ second came from their own 22 as fly-half Eden broke and sent Dan Thomas on a gallop. The back rower found Piers O’Conor who was chased hard by Max Ojomoh and aware of losing time, he fed Bates for a free run to the line.
A third try for Bristol came just shy of the quarter of an hour mark. A strongly set maul allowed hooker Byrne to dive over.
Soon after, Lane had a sprint towards the goalposts following an interception but was hounded out by a lightning quick Hamer-Webb, however the full-back popped up for fellow back-three player Adeolokun to touch down.
Bears were direct in their approach and sucked in the Bath defence for Adeolokun’s second ahead of Byrne’s brace – a doppelgänger of a score.
The only first-half positive for the Blue, Black and White was a debut try for homegrown flanker Graham.
Replacement Will Butt gathered a Bears pass and broke along the touchline. The ball was quickly moved in-field and 18-year-old Graham collected in the midfield, handed off a couple of challenges and made his way under the sticks.
The second period began as the first ended for Bath. Scrum-half Simpson looped around wing Prydie and showed sensational pace to finish in the corner.
A step up in intensity and energy was apparent and it resulted in a third try out wide for the visitors. Winning the physical battle with several hard carries, Bailey eventually got his hands on the ball and his looping pass to the right saw Prydie crash over.
But Bristol put any slim hopes of a comeback to bed through forwards Kloska and Eadie, and then a long-distance effort from O’Conor.
Premiership Rugby Cup
18 March 2022
Referee: Daniel Jones
Half Time score: 40-7
- Tries: Lane (2), Bates (9), Byrne (13), Adeolokun (17, 26), Attwood (33), Kloska (61), Eadie (68), O'Conor (76)
- Conversions: Eden (3, 10, 14, 19, 27, 62, 69), Lloyd (76)
- Tries: Graham (40), Simpson (46), Prydie (53)
- Conversions: Bailey (41, 54)