Exeter continued their early-season revival as they claimed a 41-17 bonus-point win against Bristol in their Premiership clash on Friday.
Two tries each from Olly Woodburn and Thomas Waldrom ensured the bonus point after just 42 minutes, before Sam Hill scored their fifth of the night with just two minutes remaining.
Bristol were able to score three tries of their own however, with Jordan Williams, Ross McMillan and Max Crumpton all carrying over, but their scoring was tarnished by poor kicking from Tusi Pisi.
After an early stoppage in play for Bristol winger Tom Varndell to receive treatment, Henry Slade’s excellent distribution got Exeter’s attack moving to set up ex-Bath winger Woodburn, who stumbled over in the corner to open the scoring. With his first attempt from the tee, Gareth Steenson sent an arrow-straight kick soaring through the uprights to add the extras.
Ian Whitten was then sent to the sin bin after 12 minutes for impeding Bristol’s Ryan Edwards in the air, but it was the 14 men of Exeter who were next to cross the whitewash as Hill found a gap in the home side’s backline, before finding Woodburn to score under the posts, allowing Steenson to convert with ease.
Bristol hit back with immediate effect, and an excellent turn of pace from winger Edwards saw him ease pass Lachlan Turner on the right, before finding Williams making the supporting run inside him to finish the move.
Fly-half Pisi failed to convert the try despite it seeming to be a very kickable opportunity, before Steenson slotted his first penalty of the night as Bristol were penalised for not rolling away.
On the half hour mark Waldrom burrowed over to score his side’s third try of the night, despite the best efforts of Bristol’s Varndell on the line. Steenson’s kick swayed left to right in the wind, but sailed through the uprights to make it 24-5 at the break.
Moments after the interval, Waldrom secured the Chiefs’ try-scoring bonus point as he carried over in familiar fashion for his second of the match, before Steenson extended their lead further from the tee.
Bristol reduced the arrears through hooker McMillan, as he made the most of their decision to kick to the corner by coming from the back of the resulting maul. For the second time in the game, Pisi failed with the conversion attempt only to be followed by a successful Steenson penalty.
The hosts were not going down without a fight however, and after Exeter were pinged at the scrum and Bristol kicked to the corner, front-row replacement Crumpton carried over from the back of a driving maul as his side looked for a consolation bonus point at Ashton Gate.
Following Pisi’s poor form from the tee, Williams assumed kicking duty to add the extras with less than 10 minutes to play.
With just moments remaining, Exeter’s Hill scored his side’s fifth try of the night after collecting an excellent Dave Dennis offload to run home from 30 metres out, before Steenson nailed the kick.
Tries: Williams, McMillan, Crumpton
Tries: Woodburn 2, Waldrom 2, Hill
Cons: Steenson 5
Pens: Steenson 2
Yellow Card: Whitten
Bristol: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Thretton Palamo, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jack Lam (c), 6 Jon Fisher, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 James Phillips, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Soane Tonga’uiha, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Charlie Amesbury
Exeter: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Sam Hill, 12 Henry Slade 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 James Short
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Paul Dix
TMO: Sean Davey