Varndell fires 14-man Bristol to victory

Date published: December 26 2016

Bristol cut the gap on Worcester to two points at the foot of the Premiership after they beat the Warriors 28-20 at Ashton Gate on Monday.

Two first-half scores from hat-trick hero Tom Varndell were overshadowed by Tusi Pisi’s red card in the 12th minute, although Worcester could only muster a single reply through Darren Barry before the break.

Dean Hammond scored the first try of the second-half to bring his side within a point, before the Bristol wing added a third to his name to secure the win.

Jason Woodward and Jamie Shillcock exchanged penalties in the opening six minutes, before a well-worked Bristol lineout presented Billy Searle with the chance to break clear and find wing Varndell to run in the score.

Woodward added the conversion, but soon after the home side found themselves reduced to 14 men when referee Wayne Barnes showed Pisi a red card for colliding with Worcester’s Shillcock in the air. In Shillcock’s absence for a head injury assessment, Chris Pennell slotted the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit to four points.

The Warriors made their numerical advantage pay on the 20 minute mark when lock Barry powered his way over the line under the challenge of Will Hurrell, before Pennell converted.

Wing Varndell soon restored the hosts’ lead with an excellent score, as he skipped his way down the line to step past a tackle and reach for the corner, scoring an unconverted try.

Woodward missed another kick before finally extending his side’s lead with a simple penalty on the half hour mark, when Barry was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

As Bristol continued to press, Warriors wing Hammond scored against the run of play by stepping past a tackle and run home from his own half. Pennell added the extras to bring his side within a point.

But Varndell’s hat-trick score provided an immediate reply for the hosts when Woodward stepped through the Worcester defence to find the wing to score, before the full-back added two more points from the tee.

The scorers:

For Bristol:
Tries: Varndell 3
Cons: Woodward 2
Pens: Woodward 3
Red Card: Pisi

For Worcester:
Tries: Barry, Hammond
Cons: Pennell 2
Pens: Shillcock, Pennell
Yellow Card: Barry

Bristol: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Jack Wallace, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Tusi Pisi, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Olly Robinson (c), 6 Nick Fenton-Wells, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 James Phillips, 20 Mark Sorenson, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Thretton Palamo

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Dewald Potgieter (c), 5 Darren Barry, 4 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 James Johnston, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Josh Adams, 23 Connor Braid

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff