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RUGBY UNION: Victorious Welsh are back in the big time

London Welsh's Mitch Lees is stopped in his tracks by a Bristol opponent

London Welsh's Mitch Lees is stopped in his tracks by a Bristol opponent

First published in Rugby
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

Bristol 20

(tries Short, Eadie, Hughes; con Jarvis; pen Robinson)

London Welsh 21

(tries Vella, Stegmann; con Ross; pens Ross 2; drop goal Ross)

London Welsh win 48-28 on aggregate

A smash and grab raid saw London Welsh pip Bristol on the night and secure promotion to the Premiership by a 20-point margin.

Trailing by 19 points before kick-off, the hosts had reduced that deficit to eight with ten minutes to go.

Although Bristol dominated their final match at the Memorial Stadium, late tries from Nathan Vella and Seb Stegmann not only gave Welsh an immediate top-flight return, but denied the hosts a consolation victory.

It could have been different had Bristol fly half Nicky Robinson kicked better off the tee, but this was another battling display from Justin Burnell's warriors.

Ultimately, the damage had been done with Welsh's 27-8 victory at Oxford's Kassam Stadium in the first leg, but this was the icing on the cake.

Bristol began full of intensity, but Welsh managed to secure a clearing penalty.

The opening scrum on five minutes yielded Bristol a penalty and a kick to the corner.

From here, the visiting defence conceded a further penalty inside the 22, but Robinson's eighth minute kick squirted wide.

Robinson saw a further long-range attempt miss the left upright on 12 minutes.

Bristol continued to have most of the play without creating scoring chances.

Welsh fly half Gordon Ross was happy to kick the ball in the wet conditions and his side were pleased to reach the quarter mark scoreless.

The visitors' first foray into the Bristol 22 produced the opening points.

Several pick and drives set up a successful drop goal attempt from Ross on 28 minutes.

Oxford Mail:

London Welsh's Mitch Lees claims line-out ball

Bristol's progress was hamstrung by several knock-ons, while Welsh showed good enterprise to run the ball clear through wing Stegmann.

The hosts looked to have wasted a good chance when they lost a close-range line-out, but scored the opening try soon afterwards.

Robinson's cross kick picked out wing Andy Short, who did well to get over the line, with the video referee confirming the score amid appeals the ball was held up.

Welsh lost full back Alan Awcock to injury, but replied soon afterwards with a penalty from Ross via a post.

Visiting scrum half Chris Cook was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on as the hosts threatened again.

Bristol ended the half 8-6 ahead on the night when Robinson slotted a penalty on the whistle.

The second half had barely started when Bristol worked an excellent line-out move and No 8 Mitch Eadie powered over in the corner.

Robinson's conversion went wide, but Bristol were 13-6 ahead and trailed by just 12 on aggregate.

The hosts continued to press as the atmosphere ratcheted up even further.

Robinson, however, was struggling with the boot and sliced another penalty wide.

Ross, however, was in better form and made it 13-9 with a 68th minute penalty.

Bristol were not rolling over and Adam Hughes barged through for a try, converted by fellow replacement Adrian Javis.

That reduced the arrears to eight points and the hosts had real hope.

Oxford Mail:

London Welsh's Gordon Ross kicks for position

But just as they had against Leeds at the Kassam Stadium, Welsh finished with an astonishing burst to win the second leg.

A superb driving maul saw replacement hooker Nathan Vella power over in the corner, with the try awarded after a lengthy visit to the TMO.

That ended any hopes of Bristol gaining promotion, but having dominated for so long, they didn't even have the consolation of a home win.

This was because Stegmann hacked a loose ball through from halfway to outpace the defence and ground it by the posts.

Ross's conversion incredibly put Welsh 21-20 up on the night.

Bristol pushed for a fourth try, but the visitors won a penalty to clear and end an incredible game.

Bristol: Wallace, Amesbury, Tovey (Hughes 68), Mosses, Short, Robinson (Jarvis 57), Tipuna (capt) (Grindal 76), Traynor (Hall 61), Johnston (Laurence 61), Cortes (Hobson 57), Glynn, Townson, Koster (Skirving 69), Mama, Eadie.

London Welsh: Awcock (Crane 35), Stegmann, May (capt), Jewell, Scott, Ross, Cook, Trevett (Bristow 50), Morris (Vella 60), Edwards (Tideswell 41), Spencer (West 54), Corker, Lees (Stedman 68), Kirwan, Thorpe. Rep not used: R Lewis.

Referee: L Pearce (RFU).

Man-of-the-match: Eadie.

Attendance: 10,905.

Updates - Stevenage v Oxford Utd

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

1:58pm Saturday 31st January 2015

All the news from Oxford United's Sky Bet League Two clash at Stevenage.

Oxford United striker Danny Hylton says they are ready for Stevenage battle

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

Danny Hylton has warned Oxford United will get “eaten alive” at Stevenage today unless they match their hosts’ appetite for a battle.

Oxford United duo Richard Brindley and Joe Skarz ready for first starts against Stevenage

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

Oxford United are likely to hand debuts to full backs Joe Skarz and Richard Brindley at Stevenage this afternoon.

ANGLING: Percy Hickman proves an ice-breaker

Oxford Mail: Bradford Sea Angling Club want last year's trophies returning to their next meeting on Tuesday, January 20 at the New Inn, East Bierley (8pm)

8:20am Saturday 31st January 2015

MOST of the 16 anglers had to break the ice after North Oxford Angling Society’s match against Charlbury AC was switched from the Evenlode to the Oxford canal at Kings Bridge.

ICE HOCKEY: Duo return to give Oxford City Stars a lift

Oxford Mail: ice hockey

8:20am Saturday 31st January 2015

OXFORD City Stars welcome back two key players ahead of their crucial English National League encounter at home to Cardiff Devils tomorrow (6.15).

RUGBY UNION: Koree Britton's confident London Welsh will put up a better fight

Oxford Mail: London Welsh are staying at the Kassam

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

Koree Britton insists that he and his teammates will not be out for revenge when London Welsh face Saracens tomorrow, writes SIMON WILLIAMS.

RUGBY UNION: Alex Davies returns to action after nine-month injury nightmare

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

Alex Davies can’t wait for tomorrow’s home clash with Saracens as he prepares to end his nine-month injury nightmare.

SNOOKER: Ben Rowland falls just short of ton break

Oxford Mail: cue and cue ball for images of snooker and billards for sport

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

Ben Rowland just missed out on a century break in Abingdon Conservative Club B’s 5-1 home win over Rileys B in the Gentworks Oxford & District League.

TABLE TENNIS: Karl Bushell still leading the way after 50 years

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

OXFORDSHIRE’S most successful player is celebrating half a century playing the sport he loves, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

SWIMMING: City of Oxford trio reign in Spain

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

LUCY Smith won bronze in the Catalonian Open Championships in Barcelona.

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