Bristol 8-42 Harlequins: Tom Varndell breaks try-scoring record
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 10/02/17 10:40pm
Tom Varndell broke the Aviva Premiership try-scoring record but that was Bristol's sole highlight as they were crushed 42-8 by Harlequins at Ashton Gate.
Varndell's 20th-minute try was his 91st in the league and saw him overtake Sale's Mark Cueto at the top of the try-scoring chart, with the wing's first having come for Leicester at Worcester back in 2004.
Varndell's score was the only memorable aspect of Bristol's performance as they were convincingly outplayed by the classier Quins, who won away in the Premiership for the first time this season.
Joe Marchant, Matt Hopper, James Chisholm, Charlie Mulchrone and Mark Reddish scored their tries with Ruaridh Jackson converting three and kicking two penalties. Tim Swiel added a conversion and a last-minute penalty.
Jason Woodward kicked a penalty for Bristol to add to Varndell's try but that was a disappointing return for the home side, who remain bottom of the table.
Harlequins made a flying start to take a third-minute lead. A penalty and a couple of drives secured them a lineout in the home 22 from which a clever kick ahead from Mulchrone was easily collected by Marchant to score the opening try.
Woodward and Jackson then exchanged penalties before Bristol scored a brilliant try when some skilful passing gave Varndell the opportunity to hold off Marland Yarde's tackle to break the record.
Varndell was injured in making the touchdown and hobbled around for a further eight minutes before leaving the field to be replaced by David Lemi.
His score was against the run of play for Quins were much the sharper side in the first half-hour with most of the game being played in home territory.
However they did not make it count by declining a couple of kickable penalties in favour of attacking lineouts and it proved to be the wrong option as stout defence from the hosts kept their line intact.
When Bristol conceded another penalty, Quins abandoned this tactic, electing to kick a goal with Jackson making no mistake.
Moments later, Ross Chisholm missed a long-range chance after Ryan Bevington was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Jackson but Quins still led 13-8 at the interval.
The visitors replaced injured lock George Merrick at half-time but they soon overcame this setback when his replacement, Reddish, forced his way over from close range after a succession of forward drives.
Bevington returned from the sin bin with no further damage done as Bristol introduced the recently-recruited Alby Mathewson for his debut at scrum-half but it made no difference as Quins grabbed their third try.
A well-timed pass from Jackson sent David Ward through a huge gap in the home defence for the flanker to create the score for Mulchrone.
Quins wing Tim Visser was yellow-carded with 20 minutes to go and immediately Marchant intercepted to run 90 metres before being hauled down, but Hopper was on hand to kick ahead and score the bonus-point try.
Bristol could not take any advantage of Visser's absence, with James Chisholm's try three minutes from the end ramming home Quins' superiority.