Barnes ensures Sixways tie
Ed Barnes held his nerve to smash over a last minute penalty as Bristol and Worcester drew 20-20 at Sixways.
Last Updated: 20/12/08 6:12pm
Ed Barnes held his nerve to smash over a last minute penalty as Bristol and Worcester played out a dramatic 20-20 draw at Sixways.
Bristol battled and created much more throughout the Guinness Premiership clash, however the sin-binning of the impressive Lee Robinson early in the second half was a major blow to their hopes of a first away league win of the season.
Bristol began poorly in their previous three matches and Richard Hill, their director of rugby, had warned his players prior to kick-off they could not afford to start this match slowly.
Hill's side were competitive in the opening 20 minutes and although Worcester had the better of those early exchanges there was little sign of them breaking through.
Worcester secured most of the set-piece possession but determined tackling and strong foraging by the Bristol forwards comfortably kept the home side at bay.
Bristol centre Neil Brew made the first clean break of the game but as he went to pass the ball to Robinson, Dale Rasmussen tackled the man before the ball and was yellow-carded by referee Wayne Barnes.
Barnes missed the penalty but Bristol began to dominate and deservedly took the lead with a superb try after 28 minutes. They spun the ball cleverly along the line for Luke Arscott to put the strong-running Robinson away.
The ball was recycled quickly and Dan Ward-Smith saw a gap and powered past two defenders to score a try which Barnes converted.
Eoghan Hickie, on loan from London Irish, reduced the arrears to 7-3 with a penalty but back came Bristol through Barnes' first penalty of the day.
Trailing 10-3 at the start of the second half, Worcester came out strongly in the and within minutes Robinson was sin-binned to put the visiting side severely under pressure.
Referee Barnes was again in action minutes later when awarding Worcester a penalty try as the Bristol scrum broke up close to their line. Hickie converted to level the scores and notched a penalty on 56 minutes to put the hosts ahead.
That lead was short-lived and within three minutes Bristol went ahead courtesy of another excellently constructed try.
The visitors won a line-out on the home 22 and spun the ball wide for Robinson to crash over in the corner, Barnes converting from the touch-line with a superb kick.
With 12 minutes to go Worcester produced a fine attacking move of their own when Ryan Powell, newly introduced at scrum-half, started a move which Chris Latham finished in the corner.
Hickie hammered the kick over from the touch-line before Barnes' late kick gave Bristol a share of the spoils.