BRISTOL BEARS suffered from stage fright as they butchered EIGHT scoring chances in hilarious fashion against 14-man Gloucester.
The 3,000 plus cider guzzling punters were treated to a comedy of errors in one of the most extraordinary games in Premiership history.
Ashton Gate threw open its doors for the first time since March 2020.
And Pat Lam’s side were so eager to turn on the style that they fluffed their lines by dropping balls over the try-line in a mad West Country derby.
England star Kyle Sinckler was first to spill the ball when in for a five-pointer.
There was so many referrals to the TV match official that fans chanted “TMO” all through the game.
And after his table-toppers played their first game in front of fans, Bears boss Lam said: “I imagine all the other crowds will be like that.
“When we walked out, it was like a shock. . . the noise, it was incredible what our fans did.
“It was a shock and we did talk about it. We talked about getting used to it, but it was great getting this under our belt.
“I think all the teams will go through that. I started getting a bit emotional when they came out, I’m getting soft, but it was so wonderful.
“We are making a start. Now it would be crazy if we don’t finish top, I think we need one more win to secure that home semi.”
Even super-star Charles Piutau coughed-up a hilarious gaffe as Kyle Moyle slapped the ball out of his hands as he dithered putting it down.
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All this madness happened after Gloucester had gone down to 14 men when Argentina forward Matias Alemanno saw red for dumping Steve Luatua on his head.
Max Malins scored a beauty from a clever Callum Sheedy flick and Piutau made amends in the second half after another of his tries was disallowed.
Wales fly-half Sheedy said: “It was unbelievable, you can’t quite realise how much you missed fans until they are here. It was amazing.
“We weren’t perfect and were far from clinical, but we are so happy to be back and with 3,000 fans which feels like 30,000.”
England forwards Ben Earl and Nathan Hughes, as well as Semi Radradra, steadied the ship with their scores in the final 10 minutes to bring home the bonus point.
Even after going down to 13 men when Val Rapava-Ruskin was sin-binned, Gloucester tried their best to hang on.
There was a glimmer of hope when Billy Twelvetrees converted Santiago Carreras’ try to make it a six-point game at the break.
However, eventually, Bristol managed to nail their lines in the first gamer back in front of a crowd.
Cherry and Whites boss George Skivington added: “It is a disappointing result.
“I was looking forward to 15 on 15 and it would be a good benchmark for us to see where we are at against the best team in the league.
“Unfortunately, Matias got sent off, and it became a bit of a dog-fight for us after that. I thought the sending-off was fair enough.
“I don’t think he meant to do it, he was falling back, and it was one of those unfortunate ones.
“I thought we made it hard for Bristol to get their bonus-point. I thought for the most part the defence was brilliant.
“Bristol are a class team, and they found a way in the end.”