Ellis Genge stars in fairy tale homecoming as Bristol Bears beat Bath Rugby

Ellis Genge cemented his place in Bristol Bears folklore on his homecoming with two tries as the Bears began from behind to claim a 31-29 victory over derby rivals Bath Rugby at Ashton Gate. Bath looked to be heading towards what would have been a famous victory but a late try from Will Capon which was converted by an ice-cool AJ MacGinty with less than a minute to play; but there was still time for more drama as Bath fly-half Piers Francis pushed a long-range drop goal narrowly to the left of the uprights with the final play of the game. Following the death of the Queen on Thursday a minute's silence was held in her honour, with the national anthem sung immediately afterward to pay tribute to the new King.

This eagerly anticipated Premiership opener was originally scheduled for Friday night but was pushed back by a day, resulting in no television match official being available and without the eagle eye in the truck the game repeatedly bubbled over into niggle off the ball. READ MORE: Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby LIVE: Reaction from derby victory at Ashton Gate Genge, like a character out of Greek mythology, exploded out of the blocks to score inside the first minute of the match in his first game since re-joining his boyhood club from Leicester Tigers in the summer.

The fans loved him before he even touched a ball in Bristol colours, having turned down more money elsewhere to return to the West Country, and within minutes the 22,023 inside the ground were swooning as the England loose head prop broke an attempted tackle from Josh McNally and, with Kyle Sinckler on his outside, dummied the final defender to finish a tremendous individual try. Speaking after the match, Genge said: "Sometimes you get a feeling like you can't be stopped and that is what it felt like tonight." Callum Sheedy added the extras but Bath began to grind their way back into the game and after a period of pressure, Piers Francis got them on the scoreboard with a penalty.

Bath were beginning to stress Bristol's defence, and a break from their captain Ben Spencer from the base of the ruck saw the scrum-half run in unopposed from 35 metres out, Francis kicking the conversion to put Bath 10-7 ahead. With just over 10 minutes of the first half remaining Bristol managed to build some pressure in the Bath 22. After a solid scrum their forwards took the route one approach before the ball was spread wide for Scotland international Magnus Bradbury to squeeze over in the right-hand corner on his competitive debut for the club.

Bristol then attacked from deep which put Bath under pressure and resulted in their centre Will Butt being sent to the sin bin for not rolling away at the breakdown. Further cards ensued after Luke Morahan scored Bristol's third try, touching down in the corner after a driving maul and good work by Sheedy and Charles Piutau. Bath's replacements, who were warming up nearby, got involved in the melee and hooker Niall Annett, an unused substitute, was red-carded by referee Matthew Carley with Sheedy also sin-binned.

Francis hit another penalty for the visitors meaning Bristol turned around with just a 17-16 lead. Bath drew first blood in the second half with prop Tom Dunn powering his way over from short range after a period of sustained pressure by the much-improved visitors who looked to have significantly progressed from the side that finished bottom of the Premiership last season. Francis converted and made it a two-score game at 26-17 with another penalty.

Genge put Bristol within touching distance when he charged through three defenders to score a sensational try and set up a grandstand finish, and Capon soon scored from a well-worked driving lineout with MacGinty's conversion putting Bristol into the lead. Francis missed a late drop goal attempt to send the home crowd ecstatic and give the Bears victory in the derby for the fifth straight year at Ashton Gate. Genge added: "We got there by the skin of our teeth, but we have a lot to work on if we want to win a championship."

Bristol Bears: 15. Charles Piutau (64 apps), 14. Luke Morahan (98 apps), 13.

Piers O'Conor (108 apps), 12. Sam Bedlow (47 apps), 11. Rich Lane (5 apps); 10.

Callum Sheedy (132 apps), 9. Harry Randall (85 apps); 1. Ellis Genge (23 apps), 2.

Bryan Byrne (32 apps), 3. Kyle Sinckler (32 apps), 4. Joe Joyce (151 apps), 5.

Chris Vui (93 apps), 6. Sam Jeffries (54 apps), 7. Jake Heenan (c) (65 apps), 8.

Magnus Bradbury (debut). Replacements: 16. Will Capon (59 apps), 17.

Jake Woolmore (108 apps), 18. Max Lahiff (40 apps), 19. Ed Holmes (85 apps), 20.

Sam Lewis (debut), 21. Andy Uren (135 apps), 22. AJ MacGinty (debut), 23.

Jack Bates (21 apps). Bath Rugby: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Will Butt, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Ben Spencer (C); 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Josh Bayliss, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Jaco Coetzee Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Ewan Richards, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Richard de Carpentier.

Referee: Tom Foley

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