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Bedford Blues Academy - Archive 2009/10 Season

 

Blues end of season dinner

The Academy celebrated the end of another very good season at the annual awards dinner on 21st May - players were once again supported by parents and families and the guest of honour was Gareth Davies (President).

Awards at the dinner were as follows

Most improved player                                Young player                                 Player of season

       Elliott Bale                                            Rob Laird                                     George Micans

                                                           

                          

Corey Hircock leaves the Blues to join the Munster academy and at the dinner Corey presented the Ireland U19 shirt he wore during their victory over France to club president Gareth Davies.

                                              

 

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Blues 2009/10 statistics

Results

 

Fixture   Result F A
Leinster   L 7 18
Kettering   W 56 3
Camb Uni U21   W 39 15
Ampthill   W 34 16
Loughborough Freshers   W 22 15
Mkt Bosworth   W 76 0
Bedford Uni   W 64 8
Moseley   W 37 12
ON's   W 10 8
Camb Uni U21   L 20 22
Nottingham   W 39 3
Richmond Students   W 67 24
Melton Mowbray   W 26 7
Loughborough Freshers   W 38 15
Lichfield   W 68 5
Esher Academy   W 48 0
Leicester Tigers   L 21 36
Moseley   W 44 0
Bed Ath   W 44 3
Nottingham   W 43 0
RAF U23   W 72 8
Moseley   W 34 17
Hornets   W 55 12
Tot     964 247
Points Scorers
Player Try Pen Conv DG
Tot
Hircock 13      
65
Bale 6 22 57 1
213
Kirkby 13      
65
Miccans 5      
25
Bassett 14      
70
Kenny 1   4  
13
Goode 11      
55
Cook 1 4 10  
37
Weston 4 1 15  
53
Tift 3      
15
Nutley T 5      
25
White 7      
35
Smith S 6   2  
34
Peters 7      
35
McGimpsey 5      
25
Crossland 5      
25
Nutley B 4      
20
Robson 4      
20
Pickett 1      
5
Laird 1      
5
Kelsall 11      
55
Lines 1      
5
Tootill 1      
5
Dunkley 4      
20
Fenner 1      
5
Veenendaal 1   2  
9
Speed 1      
5
Kevan 2      
10
Oliver 1      
5
Rhodes 1      
5
 
140
27
90
1
Tot Points  
700
81
180
3
964

 

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Bedford Academy - National Academy Sevens

There may have been fewer sides at the Sevens this year but the Blues pool was tough with Saracens and Bristol providing the opposition. In the opening encounter the Blues had chances against Saracens but were eventually well beaten by a side that during the day grew in confidence and skill levels. The second game was a repeat of last years shield semi-final and was a repeat result with the Blues just edging the game to secure a place in the main cup.

                        

With only 3 sevens training sessions the quarter final against London Irish, who had looked like a very accomplished sevens team in the pool matches, was always going to be a tough match, but the Blues again proved their ability to perform against good premiership sides and were not overwhelmed, losing out by a couple of scores. Having played 3 tough games against top quality opposition Bedford faced a shield semi against Kent but in a close match where they were twice in front the Blues failed to hold on and Kent went through with a late try.

 

                                                 

The transition from the fifteen man game to sevens takes practice and if the Blues are to be more competitive in this competition next season they will need to start training for the small sided game earlier and, like most of the other sides in the event, play in build up competitions to hone the skills. However on the day the Academy lost to both of the eventual finalists who saw off strong Leicester Tigers and Wasps sevens outfits on the way to a cracking final. Saracens ran out worthy winners on the day.

 

 

 1

  Micans

 

2

  Oliver

 

3

  Tootill

 

4

  Peters

 

5

  Nutley T

 

6

  White

 

7

  Bale

 

8

  Bassett

 

9

  Kelsall

 

10

  Sutherland

 

11

  Smith S

 

12

  Kirkby

                           Travel reserves    Speed, Kevan, Weston.

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National Colts Cup returns to Goldington Road

Bedford Academy 55pts   Hornets 12pts

Bedford Blues regained the National Colts cup with a hard fought victory over Hornets Colts. The team from the South West came into this fixture with a squad that had been together since U12 and was enjoying an excellent season, unbeaten in local, regional and national competitions so this was always going to be a tough match for the Blues. Franklins Gardens provided a good venue for the national finals and the weather although not quite as seasonal as in recent years stayed mostly dry for the two colts finals.

                                                         

It was the Blues who started well with pressure through the forwards in the Hornets half and on eight minutes the pack won good scrum ball which allowed the backs space to move the Hornets defence and Alex Kelsall to cut through the middle under the posts, Dave Weston converted. Shortly after from another scrum the Blues again worked space for Kelsall to score and Weston added the extras for a 14 : 0 lead. Hornets had made this final with quality in their team and they fought back when Blues missed a couple of tackles which allowed them to free up Cornish on the outside and he had too much skill and pace to be caught, finishing under the posts for a converted try. Much of the remainder of the first half was played in the Hornets half but neither side was able to break the opponents solid defence and the final score of the half was a Weston penalty. Half time and 17 : 7 to the Blues.

                                             

Being more effective at the breakdown and not giving ball away to the opposition is a brief and printable summary of the dressing room conversation for the Academy but it was the Hornets who started the second half with pressure in the Blues half. For ten minutes the Blues were forced to defend which they did very well ensuring the scoreboard did not change although the Hornets had one or two opportunities. Having weathered the storm Bedford turned the ball over in defence and with forwards and backs linking well they went most of the length of the pitch to score an excellent try, Elliott Bale now on for his first run out after the hamstring tear that had seen him miss the quarter and semi stages finished the move and then converted. The match was still in the balance but from a maul in the Blues half prop Rob Laird spotted a gap on the blind side and broke 25 metres (he said 50!) and then having committed the Hornets defender gave the pass to Josh Bassett who had enough pace to finish off the try which bale converted.

                                                

Now 31 : 7 up the Blues looked in control but that man Cornish struck again with an excellent try in the corner showing great feet and pace. The Blues responded well and remained focused on the job at hand with Kelsall getting his third try and Bassett his second to extend the lead to 41:12. Both sides by now had brought on their full benches and it was the Academy who looked to be stronger in the last ten minutes, from a well worked line out the ball again went through slick hands to put Corey Hircock in space and he showed the pace that has brought him international honours by scoring out wide and Bale kicked an excellent conversion. The Academy were not quite finished and again from a passage of play involving forwards and backs Steve Smith almost made the line but when stopped he had Ed Rhodes on hand who had tracked the ball for at least 60 metres to score his first try for the Blues! Bale converted and the score finished 55pts ; 12 pts.

                            

This Academy side has shown throughout the season an ability to mix styles and play 15 man rugby, this was possibly not the best rugby performance from the squad this season, however to beat a good side and play exciting rugby in any final is an achievement. Congratulations must go to Hornets for their part in a good final, the noise from their supporters throughout was tremendous and good luck in your final game of the season this coming Saturday.

                                         

 

The Academy have now finished the 15 a-side season and have only the National Academy sevens and the end of season dinner to round off what has been a long but rewarding year, the rugby and camaraderie within this squad has been excellent and a real pleasure for the coaching team. We will be saying goodbye to some of the players as they move into senior rugby and/or university but many will be with us again next year.

A special thanks to all the Blues supporters, parents, friends etc who not only turned up at Franklins but have been with us all season. Huge thanks also to the physios who have kept the lads patched up all year...

Squad: Bristow, Amos, Robson, Nutley T, Tift, Tootill, Oliver, Micans, White (Capt), Weston, Kelsall, Kirkby, Hircock, Bassett, Dunkley, Peters, Laird, Smith C, Rhodes, Bale, Smith S, Goode.  

Travel reserves: Crossland, Speed, Pickett.

Water boys: McGimpsey, Sutherland.

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Bedford Academy 34pts   Moseley 17pts

With two wins this season against Moseley the Blues knew that on home soil the Moseley team would be highly motivated for this semi final, and with a much changed side they were exceptionally well prepared for a tough match. The conditions were excellent for spectators but not necessarily the players as it was a very hot day with both physios called upon for water and ice towels for the lads....

Bedford jumped out of the starting gate as they have done a few times this season and within two minutes had strung multiple phases together from a line out for Alex Kelsall to round off the move with a try, there was a  little confusion on the location of the kicking tee so David Weston was forced to kick from out wide with a drop kick which only just missed.  From this the Blues would have expected to push on as they have done in previous games but they settled back and allowed Moseley to take stock and get back in the game, the phases that had worked for the try dried up and it was Moseley who started to apply pressure and they were awarded a penalty which brought the scores to 5:3.   This seemed to spur Bedford on and again from multiple phases they created space for Peter White to snipe round the side of the breakdown to set up a 10 : 3 lead. 

                                               

Once again however the Academy took their foot off the pedal and missed a few tackles in midfield to concede a soft try which was converted for a 10 : 10 scoreline. All to play for and Moseley were fired up and applying pressure. Bedford towards the end of the half again found some continuity and when they pressed the Moseley line Tom Nutley touched the ball down for the lead again. Just before half time the Blues cut open the Moseley defence and the backs should have finished off the move to leave the team clear at half time but the ball went to ground at the last minute so half time 15 : 10.

The Blues identified two areas to focus on at half time, how to maintain pressure through phases which was obviously causing Moseley problems when the intensity and tempo was maintained and how to improve the penalty count as they were conceding a number of penalties at the breakdown but not able to identify why.  Early in the second half the Academy ran their phases and Kelsall finished off a good move with Weston converting. Having opened up a 10 point lead again the Blues looked to try and close down the game but Moseley kept hammering away and stole a line ten metres from Blues goal line and scored under the posts for a 22 : 17 score. Within minutes however the Bedford pack turned over the ball in midfield and a clever kick from White allowed Josh Bassett to win a chase for the try in the corner. The Blues needed another try to put daylight between them and a persistent Moseley side and the score needed came from Greg Kirkby who intercepted the ball on half way and had the legs to just get under the posts with half of Moseley on his tail, Weston converted for a 34 : 17 lead.

                                                                   

 

Moseley still did not capitulate and they kept pressure on but the Blues now looked to be more comfortable with a bit of daylight, towards the end of the match they scored what looked like a good try from a close line out but the score was disallowed for the ball not going 5 metres. In the last few minutes they had a couple more chances where the last pass just went astray.

This was a true cup tie, not always pretty but both teams put their bodies on the line and gave their all in not ideal rugby conditions, congratulations to Moseley for a fine performance in a game played in excellent spirit. The Blues showed in this match patches of the rugby they can play and will hopefully put in the finished performance to end this Colts season at Franklins Gardens on 3rd May. Well done to the Bedford Blues for making the final and a big thanks to the many traveling parents and supporters.

 

 1

  Laird

      Replacements
 

2

  Amos

     Bristow
 

3

  Robson

      Peters
 

4

  Tift

      Speed
 

5

  Smith C

      Rhodes
 

6

  Nutley T

    

  Oliver

 

7

  Tootill

       Goode
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Smith S

 

9

  White

     
 

10

  Weston

    

 

 

11

  Bassett

   
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

   Hircock

      
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Kelsall

     

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Bedford Academy 72pts   RAF U23 8 pts

Matches against the RAF were regular fixtures in previous years for the Academy so being able to return them to the fixture list was a boost in the build up to the end of season cup matches, however the RAF were severely disrupted by their senior squads inter services matches which resulted in them traveling short and having to borrow a player to make it 15 a-side. With the addition of uncontested scrums from the start this was not the last home fixture the Academy were looking for in front of what was a large crowd following a stunning first XV victory against Cornish Pirates.

After 4 minutes Greg Kirkby cut through the RAF defence for a try under the posts and Dave Weston converted. Peter White followed up shortly after when he spotted a gap in the defence and was quick enough to out strip the winger for the corner. Both sides were trying hard to make a contest of the game but with a number of infringements leading to scrums which were uncontested the game lacked any real intensity or flow. From a turn over ball prop Dan Robson ran through a number of defenders to score under the posts and Weston converted, a 30 metre try that was almost 70 by the end of the evening!!

Winger Ben Crossland finished a good move with a try and Weston converted, the RAF then got onto the scoreboard through poor discipline by the Blues, conceding a penalty 40 metres out which was well struck to bring the scores to 26 : 3.  The Blues ran a move from a scrum and Full Back Alex Kelsall was on hand to cut through the middle of the RAF defence to score another try for Weston to convert, the half was finished off when winger Josh Bassett powered over to make the half time score 38 ; 3.

Half time and the Blues needed to try and put some shape on a match that was fairly sporadic, but with the constraints of having their own players on the opposition and no scrums this was difficult. From an early intercept Weston broke away and had the pace to score an unconverted try. The RAF kept plugging away and were rewarded for their efforts with a try, however the Blues struck back almost immediately and from a number of phases found Tom Nutley lurking on the wing to score.  With the game now almost sevens rugby Ross Kevan was introduced on the wing from his normal scrum half role and showed a true wingers instinct to stand his man up before taking the outside to score a good try. Kelsall now in his normal wing role also scored another try and Darryl Veenendalal took over the kicking to convert for a 60 : 8 lead.   The game was rounded off when Veenendaal scored a try and converted and then in a move from their own 22 Anthony Fenner making a cameo appearance before heading off to play some rugby in New Zealand got the final try.

A final score of 72 : 8 was not the result either side had been looking for from this match, the RAF had some accomplished players notable the No 8 and Scrum Half who were prominent all game and put in good performances for the full 80 minutes. The Blues will not have taken much from this outing and will face much sterner opposition in the national Cup semi final away at Moseley next week.

 

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Nottingham 0 pts : Bedford Academy 43 pts

Games against Nottingham are always hard fought affairs where both sides focus very heavily on player development, this latest match had the added twist that both Bedford and Nottingham had significantly reduced squads due to injuries and non-availabilities. The Academy traveled with 17 players able to play so the physios were under pressure to keep players fit!

It was Nottingham that started strongly with early pressure and forced the Academy to defend and the home side missed an early kick to take the lead. Most of the early play was centred around midfield when David Weston making his first appearance at fly half make an incisive break and fed Corey Hircock for the opening try.  Shortly afterwards Weston was on hand to take an interception on his own 10 metre line, he didn't quite have the legs to beat the very quick Nottingham back three but drew them in and fed Steve Smith for the second try.  The half continued but was dominated by both defences who were able to stifle the attacking options.

Half time and scores were 10 : 0 which was a fair reflection on the first half, a simple second half message for the Blues, use the powerful pack to run the phases and draw in defenders from the fringes at the breakdown and then free up the wide Bedford backs, and the team soon put this into practice. From a turn over ball the backs were given the opportunity to set up winger Wesley McGimpsey who showed pace and also power to bump off the Nottingham defender, the conversion was good from Weston. From a phase of forward play Khrys Speed drove over for an unconverted try and the Smith scored his second try which Weston converted to leave the scores at 29 : 0. From the kick off Blues attacked out of their 22 and the ball went through a number of players hands before George Micans finished the move and Weston converted. The Blues pack worked well all half going through the phases and from a series of forward drives from a scrum Dan Robson scored the final try for Weston to convert and finish the scores at 43 : 0.

Both sides had been able to look at a few younger players for a whole match and this game was played in excellent nature with good attacking and defending shown, the Nottingham wing and full back both proved elusive young runners. The Blues Academy again showed how well they can play when they do the basics well and control opposing defences with their mixture of powerful forward play and cutting backs.

The next match for the Blues is a home fixture at Goldington Road on 10th April versus the RAF U23 Academy side which will kick off straight after the first XV play off match with Cornish Pirates. A great opportunity for the home supporters to see the lads before the National Cup semi.

 

 

 1

  Laird

      Replacements
 

2

  Peters

   
 

3

  Robson

     
 

4

  Tift

      Speed
 

5

  Rhodes

      Bassett
 

6

  Nutley T

    

  Kelsall

 

7

  Tootill

       Smith S
 

8

  Miccans 

   
 

9

  Kevan

     
 

10

  Weston

    

 

 

11

  McGimpsey

   
 

12

  Dunkley

   
 

13

  Hircock

      
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Sutherland

     

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Bedford Ath 3 pts : Bedford Academy 44 pts

Local derby matches always attract interest and when they are played in national cup quarter finals there is more press focus on the teams than they are used to. Blues had prepared well for this encounter with tough fixtures against very strong opposition and good training sessions, the key would be retaining control and composure in the heightened atmosphere.

The Academy settled early with two penalties from Elliott Bale in the first nine minutes and then off a line out Greg Kirkby cut a line through the centre to score a try which Bale converted.  Eleven minutes gone and the Blues 13 : 0 up and looking comfortable. The next 20 minutes however were a real dog fight, Blues were in control at set piece but the breakdown was scrappy with neither side getting quick clean ball. It was the Ath who scored next on 21 minutes when Tom Albone converted a penalty. From another well controlled scrum the Blues worked the ball to free Josh Bassett on the wing who scored the try and Bale converted, 31 minutes gone and 20 : 3. The final minutes of the half were again dominated by slow ball at breakdown and errors by both sides when trying to play quick ball.

The second half plan for the Academy was to capitalise on their domination at set piece and share of the ball and cut out silly penalties and errors, and they started well with another well worked try for Kirkby converted by Bale. Tom Nutley was also brought on and he made an immediate impact with a surging supporting run for another converted try. Like the first half however neither side was able to string multiple phases together with either errors or penalties being conceded at the breakdown area stopping the flow. It wasn't until late in the half that the Blues finished off their scoring with tries from Nutley (T) and a third from Kirkby now playing on the wing.

Bedford Ath competed well for the full 70 minutes, their backs had seen little good ball with the Blues pack dominant at set piece but they tackled and competed hard for the full match. The Academy side will take away a number of things from this game, while they achieved a comfortable win this was not a performance at the level of the Tigers match and there are many areas they can work on in future games  However a cup semi final await s.....

 

 1

  Bristow

      Replacements
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Robson

      Laird
 

4

  Tift

      Speed
 

5

  Rhodes

      Smith C
 

6

  Nutley B

    

  Nutley T

 

7

  Peters

       Tootill
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Smith S

 

9

  White

      Weston
 

10

  Bale

    

 

 

11

  Bassett

   
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

   Dunkley

      
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Hircock

     

                          Travel reserve  Oliver

*******************************************************

 

Bedford Academy 44pts   Moseley 0 pts

No match report for this game - points scorers:

Try Kevan, Micans, Dunkley, Peters, Tift (2), Bale    Conv Bale (3)   Pen Bale

 

 1

  Laird

      Replacements
 

2

  Speed

   
 

3

  Robson

      Bristow
 

4

  Smith C

      Amos
 

5

  Rhodes

      Tift
 

6

  Nutley T

    

  White

 

7

  Peters

       Dunkley
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Sutherland

 

9

  Kevan

      Kirkby
 

10

  Bale

    

 

 

11

  Bassett

   
 

12

  Smith S

   
 

13

   Kelsall

      
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  McGimpsey

     

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Leicester Tigers 36 pts : Bedford Academy 21 pts

Matches with Leicester Tigers are always bench marks for where Blues squads are in terms of development and with a couple of forced cancellations this was the only fixture the Academy have in the diary for these much anticipated encounters. Playing at the Oval Park facility on a flat dry pitch with good weather conditions the day was set for good rugby.

Bedford have succumbed to early scores from tigers in previous encounters and so chose to kick and put pressure on the home side in their own 22. However Tigers chose to run a lot of ball and their big and quick backs counter attacked, a couple of missed tackles and the Tigers were 5 : 0 up in under 2 minutes and the Blues knew there was a game on!  Bedford switched on and for the next few minutes were competitive in midfield and rewarded with a penalty almost on half way which Elliott Bale converted. Tigers then responded with some good pressure and they too kicked a penalty. This was not a game for the faint hearted, very quick and extremely physical, the Blues were now into the game and Bale dropped a goal to narrow the score to 8 : 6. 

For the next few minutes the Blues defended well but as the half progressed they fell off the odd tackle and this was enough for a very good Tigers side to exploit the space and score 2 converted tries. Just before half time Bale kicked another penalty and the half time score was 22 : 9. Blues had competed well but paid the penalty for missing tackles against a ruthless side.

The second half started much as the first had ended with Tigers getting two early converted tries, one from a driven line out in true Tigers' form and the other from multiple phases which wore down the Blues defence. At 36 : 9 many sides might have capitulated but this Blues squad is full of belief and talent. Much of the second half was played in the Tigers half with the Blues pressing for scores against a well disciplined defence. From a 10 metre line out the pack executed a good driving maul and Ben Nutley finished off the score with Bale converting. A couple of other line out drives were stopped by Tigers just short of the line and there was a real belief in the Blues that they could score again.

From a scrum in the Tigers 22 the ball was moved out to Bale who showed the ball to a couple of Blues decoy runners before cutting through the gap to score himself. There were a few more opportunities where against a lesser side Bedford would have been on the scoreboard but points against Leicester are always hard to come by, the game closed with Tigers pressing in the final couple of minutes but the Blues held them out and a final score of 36 ; 21 reflected the closeness of the game.

As a test of where this Academy side is in terms of development the game certainly provided the coaches and players with confirmation that towards the end of the season the squad is starting to fire very well. The pack were outstanding against a larger, physical and well drilled set of forwards, the backs executed well what chances they had and the whole squad of 24 who got game time showed the heart and desire in defence to tackle and support each other. The Academy will not face a better opposition this season and should take huge pride out of a very good performance. ...

 

 1

  Bristow

      Replacements
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Robson

      Laird
 

4

  Smith C

      Speed
 

5

  Tift

      Rhodes
 

6

  Nutley B

    

  Nutley T

 

7

  Oliver

       McGimpsey
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Crossland

 

9

  White

      Sutherland
 

10

  Bale

    

  Kevan  

 

11

  Kelsall

     Smith S
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

   Hircock

      
 

14

  Bassett

     
 

15

  Dunkley

     

*******************************************************

 

Esher Academy 0 pts : Bedford Academy 48 pts

Bedford selected a young starting squad for the academy match however late changes to the Esher side due to Surrey call up meant that the home side had some older players in the squad and a rethink at last minute for the Blues. With the young front row having to be moved to second or back row the set piece promised to be an interesting spectacle.  Bedford also arrived late due to traffic and had a quick turn round for kick off but perhaps with the start they made the coaching staff will engineer more delays!

From the kick off the away side looked to take on the older and bigger Esher pack and try to provide good quality ball for the backs, within 5 minutes they had produced quick ball for Peter White to spot a gap in the defence and score the opening try. The Blues always looked threatening when the ball went wide with their strike runners and Corey Hircock made a trade mark break which was finished off by prop Dan Robson who showed great pace to be in support. Blues were then hit with losing both Kelsall and Hircock within 14 minutes but replacements Josh Bassett and Wes McGimpsey took no time acclimatising to the pace of the game.  Elliott Bale knocked over a penalty and the Blues were 13 : 0 up.  Esher were not only a physical side but also had pace in backs and it required some good defence from Bedford to keep them from scoring. From a well won scrum the ball was moved quickly through hands again for McGimpsey to add his try and Bale converted. The pack was in control at the set piece and from a 5m scrum the ball was knocked back over the line for Josh peters to pounce for a try and Bale converting. Score at half time 27 : 0.

Bedford knew in the second half Esher would put pressure on and the opening exchanges were physical at the breakdown, however it was the Academy that continued the scoring when Ben Crossland finished off another well worked move and Bale converted.  Greg Kirkby came on after 5 minutes of the second half and from a great aerial take set up another scoring opportunity which he was on hand to finish and Bale again converted. The final score of the game came from George Oliver who scored within 2 minutes of taking the field and Bale rounded the scores off with the conversion. Even at this point Esher still pressed for a score and some excellent defence from the Blues in their own 22 kept the home side out in the dying minutes.

This was a good game for the Blues in preparation for the away trip to Leicester Tigers next week, the pack playing against a bigger older set of forwards were very efficient at set piece and break down and provided a great platform for the running Blues backs. The defence was excellent and the squad is scoring good quality try's on days when handling is definitely not easy. This squad is starting to perform at a high level and raise the bar at the right point of the season.

 

 1

  Laird

      Replacements
 

2

  Speed

   
 

3

  Bristow

      Robson
 

4

  Smith C

      Amos
 

5

  Rhodes

      Strain
 

6

  Tift

    

  Oliver 

 

7

  Peters

       McGimpsey
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Kirkby

 

9

  White

      Bassett
 

10

  Bale

    

 

 

11

  Crossland

   
 

12

  Smith S

   
 

13

   Hircock

      
 

14

  Kelsall

     
 

15

  Dunkley

     

 

*******************************************************

 

Lichfield Colts 5 pts : Bedford Academy 68 pts

National cup last 16 game away against Lichfield RFC, a side Bedford knew very little about but had to be cautious with at this stage of the competition. What was known on arrival however was that the weather conditions and a game scheduled on an excellent first xv pitch meant that both sides han an ideal setting for a good game of rugby.

                                                                    

Bedford opened the scoring in the first minute when they were awarded a penalty from a good kick chase and Elliott Bale slotted the kick. With seven minutes gone Bedford won a line out just outside the Lichfield 22 and the pack drove the maul to within 1 metre of the line when the Blues decided to move the ball rather than just trundle over for what looked like a certain score and the ball went dead. They made amends however when from the resulting scrum the ball was moved wide for Alex Kelsall to score the try. From another Lichfield scrum in mid field Bedford scrum half Peter White read the pass and intercepted to set up a run in for Will Dunkley and the score was 13 : 0.  Lichfield were not going to lie down however and pressed a few attacks of their own and the game was without a score for the next 15 minutes whilst both sides attacked and defended with pace and intensity. The Blues then scored a few quick try's in succession, Josh Bassett rounded off an excellent move from the Blues own 22, Kelsall scored another well worked try and straight from the kick off the Blues attacked with great hands to send Dunkley in for his second and with Bale converting two of these try's the score was 32 : 0.

                                                             

The second half started with the same pace and intensity from the Blues and despite good home side defence Kelsall rounded off his hat trick of try's with Bale again converting. From a turnover in the Blues 22 the Academy again attacked with pace and Bassett was on hand to finish the move . By this point both sides had made a number of substitutions and when Ben Crossland cut an excellent line through midfield his supporting winger Jamie Goode was on hand to take the score to 49 : 0.  Gareth Tootill was eager to show that it wasn't just the backs who had pace when he made a 50 metre break and it took Dunkley to stay with him and take the off load to score his third try and Steve Smith converted.  Greg Kirkby, who had been involved in all things that were good for Bedford, was rewarded with a try converted by Smith. The final try came when Bedford again turned ball over and Peter White went down the blind side to score when there appeared to be no space at all, this was the final score for the Blues.  Pressing for one last try the Blues lost the ball in Lichfield's 22 and from a kick which bounced on half way away from the covering Blues defence into the hands of the Lichfield back following up the home side got a try which was reward for their endeavor throughout the match.

On a day when all the points for the Blues came from the backs recognition must go to the forwards who set an excellent platform at set piece and breakdown which gave the backs time and space to execute their skills. A very good performance from the Blues who move on to the draw in the last eight of the competition.

 

 1

  Bristow

      Replacements
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Robson

      Laird
 

4

  Smith C

      Speed
 

5

  Tift

      Dyer O
 

6

  Rhodes

    

  Smith S  

 

7

  Tootill

       Goode
 

8

  Miccans 

 

  Weston

 

9

  White

      Crossland
 

10

  Bale

    

 

 

11

  Bassett

   
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

  Hircock

      
 

14

  Kelsall

     
 

15

  Dunkley

     

*******************************************************

 

Loughborough Freshers 15 pts : Bedford Academy 38 pts

In order to get as much game time as possible for the young Colts given the number of weather cancellations, Loughborough agreed to change this fixture from a development to a fresher's match, which was hugely appreciated by the Academy who had only managed one game in six weeks. Playing on the wide and flat Loughborough first xv pitch was also a bonus.

The younger Colts had a simple game plan and objectives for this game against a much older and bigger University side and came out from the first whistle full of intensity, from the kick chase at the kick off they were awarded a penalty which Elliott Bale converted. From the restart Loughborough won the ball but the Academy turned it over and Josh Bassett, now fit from his long injury lay off, powered out of a tackle to score from 50 metres out, Bale converted. Three minutes gone and the away side were 10 pts to the good.

Loughborough are always a good side and within 5 minutes they had pegged back the lead with a penalty. The game was played for 80 minutes at a very fast and physical pace and the Blues again put pressure on the home side, they extended the lead when Ben Nutley ran a good line at the breakdown defence weak shoulder to score and Bale converted. Loughborough switched the restart kick to try and put pressure on the Colts backs, however they were more than prepared securing the ball and attacking back with pace, Bassett was on hand to finish off an excellent try converted by Bale. The Blues forwards were competing well up front against a bigger pack at both set piece and the breakdown area and this allowed the backs room to show their pace, from a well worked turn over the backs and back row combined well to send Corey Hircock over for another converted try. Whilst the Blues were clinical in execution Loughborough did have chances and some good defence work from Bedford and a pass or two going astray stopped the home side from adding to their score. Towards the end of the half Bedford attacked again and put in a clever kick for Bassett to chase however he was beaten to the ball by Hircock who is showing another gear this season and Bale kept up his 100% kicking record to end the half 38 : 3.

Bedford knew that the University side would come out firing in the second half and bring on a few replacements, the Blues also rotated a number of players as well to allow others some necessary game time. Much of the second half was played in Blues territory with pressure from the now bigger University pack being exerted. From a scrum outside the Blues 22 the home side worked a good midfield move to score under the posts and then scored a quick try through their pack.  The last 20 minutes was a real dog fight with the Blues defending for almost 10 minutes on their 5 metre line with scrum after scrum, each time they thought they had got out of defence they were dragged back either for an offence or put themselves under pressure with some adventurous options and missed touch when safety and field position would have given the pack a breather  On their few forays into the Loughborough half they were unable to repeat the clinical execution from the first half but finished the game worthy winners at 38 : 15.

This was a much improved performance from the cup game of the previous week, there was intensity from the start, physicality and execution at the breakdown, a pack competing well in set piece against a stronger and older set of forwards and a set of backs combining with the pack in some clinical execution. The bar has been set for the remainder of the season and this side should now look to build on this performance.

 

 1

  Bristow

     
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Robson

    16   Dyer
 

4

  Smith C

    17   Laird
 

5

  Tift

    18    Rhodes
 

6

  Nutley B

    19

  Nutley T

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    20   Kevan
 

10

  Bale

    21

  Veenendaal

 

11

  Bassett

   
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

  Hircock

    22   Dunkley
 

14

  McGimpsey

     
 

15

  Weston

    23   Crossland

*******************************************************

Bedford Academy 26 pts : Melton Mowbray 7 pts

With the weather having played havoc with both sides preparation for this game the Blues were pleased to be able to get a home fixture on Goldington Road, the last full game the Academy played was on 5th December so there was bound to be a rustiness to execution and cohesiveness, but a huge amount of desire to finally play some rugby.

The first half started tentatively with both sides feeling their way back into match time, a number of penalties being given away and Mowbray having a couple of shots at goal early on that were wide or short which might have settled them more quickly. It was the Blues who took the lead with Elliott Bale converting two penalties in the first 20 minutes.  The home side had the better of the second quarter and managed to get some ball out wide, from an attack that started in their own 22 involving good work from Corey Hircock and Jamie Goode they finally secured quick ball from the breakdown and Ben Nutley was on hand to take the ball and go in under the posts, Bale converting. Bedford were to put more pressure on with two more Bale penalties and went into half time 19 : 0 in front.

The home side were expecting to push on in the second half and play a slightly wider phase game and involve their back line more, however it was Melton who controlled the early exchanges with their bigger pack setting up rolling mauls from set and open play to drag Bedford defenders in and play at their tempo. From a good maul they were awarded a penalty just outside the 22 and chose to go for the 5m line out option which they drove over to bring the scores back to 19 : 7.   The middle of the second half was a forward confrontation with the Blues bringing any ball they had back into the forward masses rather than attack wider channels, however they did go wide once and from a good grubber kick and chase David Weston won the race for the ball to score and Bale converted.  A couple of other chances then went begging and the ball was kicked dead with 2 Bedford players close behind. Melton finished strongly with their pack on the 5 metre line but good Bedford defence from scrum and ruck prevented any further scores.

Cup rugby is seldom pretty and an added 6 weeks of no competitive games showed with the home side unable to string the normal phases of play together. An away tie at Lichfield awaits and, weather permitting, two matches to get the intensity and accuracy back into the Blues game starting with what is always a tough away trip to Loughborough, plenty to work on.

Huge thanks to the ground staff who managed to get the pitch in excellent condition despite the winter weather and the deluge on Friday prior to the game.

 

 1

  Bristow

     
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Robson

    16   Speed
 

4

  Smith C

    17   Laird
 

5

  Tift

    18    Rhodes
 

6

  Tootill

    19

  Nutley B

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    20   Bassett
 

10

  Bale

    21

  Crossland

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Kirkby

   
 

13

  Hircock

     
 

14

  Kelsall

     
 

15

  Smith S

    22   Weston

                       Travel reserves   Dunkley, Peters

*******************************************************

 

Richmond Students 24 pts : Bedford Academy 67 pts

There was an air of expectation for this fixture with a new venue and opposition for the Academy, unfortunately that disappeared when half hour before KO the opposition had 12 players and this did not improve by the allotted start time so both teams agreed to play 12 a-side. Far from ideal for a Bedford squad in need of good game time, the game itself was a mix of sevens and 15's with neither side really knowing how to adapt with the player numbers. The Academy trying to rotate players frequently so all the lads got game time having made the trip down to London.

Neither side were able to take away anything constructive from this fixture in terms of rugby development. Bedford did score 11 try's through Greg Kirkby, Elliott Bale, Alex Kelsall, Jack Lines, Jamie Goode, Ben Crossland, Peter White, George Miccans, Wesley McGimpsey, Josh Peters, Gareth Toothill with  Bale adding six conversions. Richmond responded with 4 try's and 2 conversions of their own.

Bedford move on to pre christmas matches with Worcester and Rosslyn Park U20.

 

 1

  Laird

     
 

2

  Amos

   
 

3

  Bristow

    16   Dyer O
 

4

  Smith

    17   Speed
 

5

  Nutley B

     
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Peters

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  Kevan

    18   White
 

10

  Bale

    19

  Kirkby

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Smith

    20

  Bassett

 

13

  Kelsall

     
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Lines

    21   McGimpsey

*******************************************************

 

Bedford Academy 39 pts : Nottingham Academy 3 pts

Nottingham always provide a tough encounter for the Blues and even with a young side when they got off the coach they looked larger than the home team. The weather was kind which meant the fixture could go ahead on Goldington Road which suits Bedford - when they play with tempo and expansive phases to use the wider pitch

The first ten minutes were an opportunity to test each other out and the Blues lacked the intensity they had intended to start with, in fact it was Nottingham who opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a penalty in midfield. Almost from the restart the Blues were awarded a penalty and Elliott Bale converted to level the scores. The first half continued to be a see saw event with both sides not finding any real rhythm, many mistakes at the breakdown and numerous scrum resets. It was Bedford who edged ahead with another Bale penalty and then finally scored a try close to half time when Bale finished off some good handling by forwards and backs, he converted to take the half time score to 13 : 3.

Three words dominated the half time talk, tempo, phases and discipline and it looked like the words hit home when straight from the kick off the home side put pressure on the Nottingham 10 and then ran their big forward runners into the right channels.  The Blues started to play the patterns of rugby they are always capable of and put pressure on the Nottingham defence. When awarded a penalty Bale spurned the kick to touch and went for the quick hands, this was rewarded when they executed simple passing to set free Jamie Goode on the wing to score and Bale converted.

The home side were now in their purple patch and playing with belief, from their own 22 they ran turn over ball to set up Goode again who executed the kick and chase well to score under the posts and Bale converted.  Nottingham were still defending and posing a threat with ball in hand but again from their own half the Blues struck to set the other wing Josh Bassett up for the first of his tries and Bale converted. The Blues then went into switch off mode, allowing the opposition easy ball and giving up silly penalties, one of which resulted in a yellow card so Bedford now down to 14 players. During this time the away side had a couple of chances but good home defence kept them at bay.  With 5 minutes on the clock the home side switched back into gear now restored to 15 men, from a line out well won and driven to suck in Nottingham defenders they moved the ball to the opposite side of the pitch for Bassett to get his second and round off the final score 39 : 3.

There were parts of this game that the Blues showed just how good they can be this season, simple execution of basic skills, forwards and backs combining for phase play that recycled quick ball and a pace that most sides will find hard to combat. They will however need to start games with the same high intensity they find half way into a match and keep their shape and discipline if they are to fare well against opposition in the second half of the season. Having often mentioned the pace of this side the pack is starting to respond well and their set piece execution and variation is beginning to develop good ball for the backs. This was a good performance, the Colts challenge is to play 70 minutes at this level.........

 

 1

  Laird

    19   Nutley T
 

2

  Amos

16

  Peters

 

3

  Bristow

    17   Dyer O
 

4

  Smith

    18   Oliver
 

5

  Rhodes

    20   Pickett
 

6

  Nutley B

 

 

 

7

  Tootill

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    21   Kevan
 

10

  Bale

    22

  Smith

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Kirkby

    23

  Kenny

 

13

  Weston

    24   Lines
 

14

  Bassett

     
 

15

  Sutherland

   

*******************************************************

 

Academy Player in Ireland U19 Team

Congratulations to Academy player Corey Hircock who starts on the wing for the Ireland U19 team to play Australia schools on Dec 2nd in Cork

Link Here

*******************************************************

Cambridge University U21  22 pts :  Bedford Academy 20 pts

Cambridge U21 are always a tough fixture for the Blues with the age and maturity difference the couple of years can bring, add the incentive for the Uni side of a final selection opportunity before the various varsity matches and this proved to be a tough encounter for the Blues. 

The opening exchanges were physical and as expected the University side set the early exchanges, it was a penalty to Elliott Bale however in the first 10 minutes that was the difference between the sides. Cambridge then started to get the edge and a quick try put them in front. The uni side were looking at options and changed their props 25 minutes into the half and this added extra pressure on the young Blues pack who had been very competitive at set piece. From a scrum the Cambs no picked up and went through a few flailing tackles to set up a converted try and a 12 : 3 half time lead.

Whilst Bedford had been very competitive at the set piece they had not set their own pattern of play or tempo in the first half and this was the game plan for the second 40, however a quick try from cambs rocked the visitors. As if they were waiting for a catalyst this Cambridge try kick started the Blues, and they played for the remainder of the match at the tempo and intensity they are capable of. From a line out catch and drive Ollie Pickett went over for a try and then from another phase of play that saw the pack create space for the backs to attach Rob Laird scored a try converted by Bale.

The Blues were dominant at this point and playing some excellent phase rugby and from a move involving most of the Academy players Jamie Goode rounded off to score and take the Blues into the lead 17 : 20. At this point a couple of other opportunities went begging with some very good defence by Cambs. The University side kept going and in the last 3 minutes laid siege to the Blues line. Just when the Academy thought they had repelled the attack a quick reverse pass saw the home side score the winning try in the corner.

For 40 minutes of this match the Academy showed the style of rugby they are capable of and a pace of game that is difficult to defend, however they need to start this from the opening minute and not chase the game against good sides like the Uni team. Cambs Uni were a good squad and the Academy wishes them luck in their varsity ventures...

 

 1

  Healy

    
 

2

  Dyer

16

  Amos

 

3

  Bristow

    17   Peters
 

4

  Smith

    18    Laird
 

5

  Nutley B

     
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    19   Smith
 

10

  Bale

    20

  Kelsall

 

11

  McGimpsey

   
 

12

  Dyer

    21

  Goode

 

13

  Kirkby

    22   Crossland
 

14

  Bassett

     
 

15

  Cook

   

*******************************************************

 

Old Northamptonians 8 pts :  Bedford Academy 10 pts

Third round of the National Colts cup and the Academy faced a tough trip to Old Northamponians who would be buoyed by a few returning Saints Academy players. A good week of training and no major injuries saw the Blues field an almost full strength side for what was to prove to be a tricky encounter.

From the kick off ON's showed their intent when the no8 collected the kick and made 30 metres through flailing Blues attempted tackles. The first 15 minutes were a physical battle with both sides taking each other on up front but also littered with penalties and it was the home side who took the lead when the Blues conceded a penalty within kicking distance.  From another turn over the ON side made ground again and when awarded a free kick from a scrum they tapped and scored whilst the Blues defence were still in a daze, the conversion was missed.  The half continued on in the same vane and the Academy were down to 14 men from repeat infringements but the half ended with the score 8 : 0.

Changes early in the second half from Bedford did not change the course of the game, Blues with strange option taking, poor discipline and lack of execution of basic skills continued and ON's dominated the half without being able to score the final points that would have sealed the game. With 8 minutes to go the Blues won a penalty in front of the posts which Jack Cook kicked to take the score to 8 : 3 and a glimmer of hope for the away supporters. The Blues started to then play the rugby they have played all season and retained possession and put tempo on the game.  With the final move of the game George Micans drove over for a try and Cook converted which heralded the final whistle and cheers from the traveling Blues supporters and disappointment from the ON's players and supporters.

This was a game where the side who performed best on the day did not win, the ON's had performed well in all aspects of attack and defence and until the 69th minute had looked likely winners. The Academy side made too many basic skill errors, conceded too many penalties and lacked the intensity and tempo they had set in previous games, they will have to correct these if they are to continue on in the competition.

Old Northamptonians are raising awareness for one of their youngsters who is fighting a battle with Leukemia, the Academy missed a photo opportunity but would urge readers of these pages to read and support if possible this young man who needs all our help! For more info go to MattsMatch.co.uk

Good luck Matt from the Blues Academy.

 

 1

  Laird

    17   Nutley T
 

2

  Amos

16

  Peters

 

3

  Bristow

    18   Nutley B
 

4

  Smith C

    19    Oliver
 

5

  Rhodes

      
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    20   Smith S
 

10

  Bale

    21

 Cook

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Kirkby

    22   Kenny
 

13

  Hircock

   
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Weston

   

                          Travel reserves:  Dyer, Bassett

*******************************************************

 

Moseley 12 pts :  Bedford Academy 37 pts

Bedford played for the first time on an artificial pitch following the horrendous conditions in the West Midlands, even with the lack of rain the cross pitch gale force winds made the basic ball skills difficult.  The opening encounters were even but the Blues opened the scoring on 14 minutes when Elliott Bale spotted a gap in the Moseley defence and darted over for a try he converted. On 27 minutes Bale followed up with a well struck penalty which had to battle the winds. The half was ended with a trademark scything run by Corey Hircock who was well supported by Ollie Pickett to take the visitors into a 15 : 0 lead.

The second half did not see any let up in the conditions but the Blues dealt with them a little better, from a scrum in midfield the ball was worked to Dave Weston who scored the try, Bale converting. Both sides were competing hard at the breakdown and it was Bedford who scored again when a penalty was knocked over by Bale. Moseley continued to battle and were rewarded when they scored from the scrum with a No8 pickup, the try was converted. From the restart the Blues worked the ball out wide to Ben Crossland who scored in the corner. From their own 22 the Blues again struck and Greg Kirkby rounded off a fine try and Weston converted. Moseley did not give in and they scored in the last minute to leave the final score 37 : 12.

A good result for the Academy, there were a couple of opportunities not taken but this was a good result against a strong Moseley side.

 

 1

  Laird

    17   Nutley B
 

2

  Dyer

16

  Amos

 

3

  Bristow

    18   Styles
 

4

  Smith

    19    Hislop
 

5

  Rhodes

      
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    20  Crossland
 

10

  Bale

    21

 Cook

 

11

  Kenny

   
 

12

  Smith S

    22   Kirkby
 

13

  Hircock

   
 

14

  McGimpsey

     
 

15

  Weston

   

*******************************************************

 

Bedford Academy 64 pts : Bedford University 8 pts

The Academy played in front of a large crowd at Goldington Road with the first team fixture away to Cornish Pirates was being streamed live in the club house after the Colts match. Perhaps the number of spectators contributed to the stereotype "game of 2 half's" that was to follow a well observed minutes silence on remembrance sunday.

Bedford started quickly and following good interchanges between forwards and backs Wesley McGimpsey rounded off with a try in the corner. This should have settled the Blues who were once again playing an older and bigger side but they went into their shell allowing the Uni side to take the upper hand at the breakdown, which they capitalised on for their opening score. From the restart a rolling maul for the Uni drove the home side back and they were awarded a penalty for collapsing and took the lead 5 : 8.

Bedford quickly responded with a maul of their own from a lineout and quick ball saw Peter White finish off a well worked move and Jack Cook kick the conversion to restore their lead. Scrums had been uncontested from the start with the Uni side losing their props to injury prior to KO and from a scrum out wide Bedford worked space for Greg Kirkby to cut through the middle for a try converted by Cook.  These were the highlights from a first half which was physical but littered with errors and neither side able to put any shape on the game.

Half time in the Blues changing room was set for some simple messages from coach and captain, and a few changes with four of the younger Academy players getting on the field. Right from kick off the tempo was raised and the home side started to impose their game plan. Aidan Kenny rounded off a good move in the backs with Elliott Bale converting and Tom Nutley, who stepped in at second row, rounded off the try of the match which saw half the Blues side get hands on the ball, Bale converting again.

The forwards were now dominating and from good phase ball Josh Peters finished a try for Bale to convert and then Dan Robson, obviously reveling in the energy he had from not scrummaging, ran 20 metres (was 50 later that evening!) to score a good prop forward try and Bale converted. The uni side did not give up but at this point the home side had been able to impose their game plan and when Bale made a break and drew in 2 defenders Steve Smith was on hand for the off load and a 50m sprint home for Bale to convert again.  Corey Hircock got in on the try's when he showed a clean pair of heels and Peters got his brace when he finished a phase of off loads to set the final score at 64 : 8.

Bedford Uni competed throughout but were not able to match the Blues in the second half for pace, a return fixture is scheduled against the University first XV for the new year. The Blues will take away valuable lessons from this fixture, this squad have the ability but need to believe that for a full match.

 

 1

  Dyer

    17   Laird
 

2

  Amos

16

  Peters

 

3

  Robson

    18   Styles
 

4

  Smith

    19    Oliver 
 

5

  Nutley T

      
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Pickett

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

    20  Clark
 

10

  Cook

    21

 Bale

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Kirkby

    22  Smith
 

13

  Hircock

   
 

14

  McGimpsey

     
 

15

  Kenny

   

*******************************************************

 

Market Bosworth Colts 0 pts - Bedford Academy 76 pts

Bedford were more than happy to return to Market Bosworth who gave them a tough encounter in last season's plate competition, both sides had much changed squads and were giving younger players the opportunity of a fixture. A number of Blues players had not been able to play in recent weeks due to their age and were eager to get game time under the belt.

The opening encounters were physical and competitive with both sides keen to establish the upper hand, it was the Blues who struck first when Jamie Goode went wide and a clever kick ahead saw him beat the defence for pace to get his first try of the day. From the restart Bedford fed the ball wide and the backs linked for Greg Kirkby to score and Elliott Bale to convert. Both sides continued to be competitive but it was the Blues pace and handling from one to fifteen that was proving to be the deciding factor when they scored tries through Peter White, Jamie Goode (2), Steve Smith and on his debut at hooker Josh Peters, Bale converted 4 to take the visitors into a 0 - 45 half time lead.

Half time and the Blues were looking for patterns and phases from the second half. Almost from the start returning winger Wesley McGimpsey scored with his first touch of the game Bale converting. Although always competitive at set piece and the breakdown the home side couldn't quite match the pace of the Blues who scored more tries through Smith S (2), Peters and Ben Crossland with Jack Cook taking over conversions and scoring 2.  The final score was 0 - 76.

Whilst an emphatic win the Blues learnt a lot about themselves from this game and Market Bosworth never let their heads drop and were competitive from start to finish, their number 8 being a key player in set piece and breakdown.  The Blues now prepare for a home fixture on Sunday 8th Nov against Bedford University.

 

 1

  Laird

    17   Bristow
 

2

  Peters

16

  Dyer

 

3

  Robson

    18   Amos
 

4

  Smith

     
 

5

  Rhodes

      
 

6

  Tootill

 

 

 

7

  Styles

     
 

8

  Miccans 

 

 

 

9

  White

     
 

10

  Bale

    19

  Kirkby

 

11

  Goode

   
 

12

  Smith S

     
 

13

  Hircock

   
 

14

  Crossland

     
 

15

  Cook

   

*******************************************************

 

Bedford Academy 22 pts : Loughborough Freshers 15 pts

Bedford welcomed Loughborough to Goldington Road and confirmed when the opposition stepped off the coach that this was to be a tough encounter, the University side are always well prepared but this squad looked bigger and fitter than previous years. The home side were to be buoyed by a number of Blues fans taking the opportunity to watch the youngsters with the first XV due at Nottingham on Sunday.

As expected the opening 5 minutes were physical and fast and it was the visitors putting early pressure on with some big running forwards, a penalty on 6 minutes was converted to give the university a 3 : 0 lead.  Straight from the kick off the Blues competed and a penalty was slotted by Elliott Bale to  level on 8 minutes.  The next 10 minutes were even with both sides competing hard at the set piece and breakdown but not able to break loose until a turn over scrum for Loughborough allowed them to exploit missed tackles in midfield and score the opening try which was surprisingly missed from just wide of the posts, 3 : 8. Bedford made an early replacement to add more physicality to the back row and soon after an ensuing penalty allowed Bale to close the gap. Close to half time the Blues turned over ball in midfield and a cross field kick by Bale was taken at full pace by flanker Tom Nutley on the wing to power over for his first try for the club, Bale converted from the touchline and it was 13 :8 at half time.

The Academy knew they would have to keep playing with the same intensity in the second half and from early pressure Bale was presented with a penalty on half way which he stroked over to increase the lead. Loughborough continued to be competitive in defence and attack and could have scored a couple of tries but final passes went to deck rather than hands. The Blues kept playing their patterns and following good phase play from the pack Bale had another penalty shot from the 10m line which he again slotted to take the score to 19 : 8.

Like all Loughborough sides they came back again and from a period of sustained pressure on the home sides 5m line they finally drove over for a converted try to take the scoreboard to 19 : 15. In a game that ebbed and flowed Ben Crossland was unlucky not to score when he went through the Loughborough defence and and got over the line, the referee was unsighted and gave a 5m scrum instead. The Blues finished the scoring with another Bale penalty and then held out in the last 3 minutes with the university side pressing for a final score.

After the previous week this was exactly the kind of game and performance the Academy needed, Loughborough were an older, bigger and well organised side but the Blues players held their owned and competed well. There is still much work to do but they showed this week they are capable of stepping up the performances.

Squad: Bristow, Dyer, Robson, Tift, Rhodes, Nutley T, Tootill, Micans, White, Bale, Goode, Smith S, Kirkby, Crossland, Kenny, Laird, Peters, Smith C, Pickett, Oliver, Clarke, Cook.

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Bedford Academy player in Irish U20 Development Training Squad

Congratulations to Corey Hircock who has been invited to attend the development training camp with Ireland U20 squad at the end of October.

                     

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Ampthill Colts 16 pts  Bedford Academy 34 pts

National Colts cup second round and an away trip to Ampthill who would be highly motivated for the fixture with the Blues who knew only too well from last season that early cup matches can be tricky affairs. Playing on a dry sunny afternoon following the Ampthill juniors sessions in the morning where many youngsters were out enjoying the game, the Blues knew this would be a tough encounter with a vociferous home support.

                                  

Bedford opened the first half well with an early penalty from Jack Cook and then seemed to settle the nerves when from an Ampthill kick David Weston at full back ran the ball back and linked with Corey Hircock who showed his pace and power to score a try converted by Cook.  Ten minutes gone and the visitors with a 0 : 10 lead.   A combination of the Blues losing intensity and the Ampthill side stepping up a couple of gears changed the focus of the first half, the visitors found themselves under pressure at the breakdown, being hit hard in tackles and being bounced themselves when defending. For the remaining 25 minutes of the half the Academy were unable to capitalise on their size or speed advantage and conceded 3 penalties which Ampthill duly kicked to bring the game down to a 1 point margin.  Shortly before half time Bedford were reduced to 14 men for persistent infringements. Ampthill looked certain to make this count when camped on the Blues goal line but gave up a penalty and a yellow themselves for foul play when they looked to be set to take the lead. Half time and 9 : 10 with both sides at 14 men.

                      

The second half started very much the same as the first with Hircock getting a quick try and with the advantage of the slope this looked like the start of the Blues stepping up. However the home crowd got behind their team and from a turn over ball Ampthill scored a try under the posts which was converted for them to take a 16 : 15 lead. The Blues looked jolted and spent 20 minutes chasing the game which resulted in numerous skills errors and an upset looked on the cards. With about 15 minutes to go the Away side started to play simple rugby and set up Jamie Goode on the outside who had a chance to show his pace with a clever kick ahead and chase which he won to score a try converted by Cook. One aspect of the Blues game that had worked well all game was their line out and when presented with a penalty in the 22 they spurned the kick to go for a 5 metre line out. From the ensuing catch and drive Zak Tift drove over to ease the score to 16 :27. From another line out in midfield simple hands saw Weston round off a good move and then convert his own try to finish the scoring at 16 : 34. The last 10 minutes of the game the Blues demonstrated some of the skills this squad has shown in earlier matches.

The Blues came away with the win and a fixture against Old Northamptonians in the 3rd round, but they know that they will have to sort out the basic errors and intensity/composure if they are to attain the standards this squad is capable of. Ampthill pushed the Academy all the way and will make very tough opponents for any side in the plate competition.

Squad Bristow, Amos, Robson, Smith C, Rhodes, Tootill, Oliver, Micans, Clarke, Cook, Goode, Kirkby, Hircock, Kenny, Weston, Nutley T, Dyer, Tift, Pickett, Bale, Smith, Crossland.

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Cambridge Uni U21 15 pts  Bedford Academy 39 pts

Bedford's first U21 fixture of the season and for the first time in a non U19  match the Academy chose not to call back any of last years squad in order to better identify the strength of this years crop of players. On an ideal day for running rugby and a Grange Road pitch suited to a wide expansive game both sides had much to learn about their squads at this stage of the season.

                                                                         

It was the home side who started the strongest with some dominant play in the pack and from an early midfield scrum they scored the opening try which was converted. Bedford were at this point giving their opponents too much time and space but a penalty from Jack Cook (rattling the post as it went over) seemed to give them some confidence. A solid tackle in midfield set the backs up for Corey Hircock to race away and score the Blues opening try which Cook converted. The play was now even with both sides competitive at the breakdown and it was an opportunistic interception from Cook that saw the visitors extend the lead to 7:17.  Cambridge were still finding space in midfield and ended the half with a try that sent the sides into half time at 12 pts : 17 pts.

                                                      

The Blues needed to pick up the intensity for the second half and not allow the home side to dominate the opening 10 minutes as they had in the first and within a minute they converted a penalty to extend the lead. Straight from the restart however the Academy conceded a penalty in front of their own posts and it was a 5 point game again 15 : 20.  The Blues pack had been very effective in the line out, winning own ball and stealing or disrupting the universities, and from a clean line out win and a great line from inside centre Greg Kirkby, Hircock was again on hand to score another try converted by Cook. From another line out win the backs combined to create space for Hircock again who showed excellent pace to outrun the university defence. The final try from Bedford showed the level of this squads execution with the forwards and backs combining to send Hircock out wide, attacking with pace and dragging in a number of home side defenders a subtle switch with winger Jamie Goode saw the winger sprint away for the try. Dave Weston stepped up to knock the conversion over from 5m inside the touch line to round off a 15 : 39 win for the academy.

                                      

The Blues were very much in need of a tough fixture having suffered yet another cancellation last week and the university side were physical and committed for the whole match. With a return fixture in a few weeks time when the Uni side will have had more time for their players to work together it promises to be another tough game. The Blues showed much of the talent that the coaching staff know this squad possesses, however there were also a number of areas which will be worked on over the next few training sessions to raise the bar. The strength in forwards and backs is promising and the unity and skills execution is promising.

Squad Bristow, Amos, Robson, Tift, SMith, Tootill, Pickett, Micans, White, Cook, Kenny, Kirkby, Hircock, Dodds, Weston, Nutley T, Dyer, Oliver, Clarke, Bale, Goode.

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Kettering 3 pts Bedford Blues 56 pts

The Academy opened up this seasons cup campaign with a visit to Kettering on what turned out to be a very hot late September day. The home side were obviously well prepared which was evident from their pre game warm up and the Blues knew this would be a tough encounter.

                                                     

The game kicked off at a quick pace and early on Bedford showed signs of improvement in areas that were weak against Leinster, from a turn over in the scrum Peter White fed Corey Hircock for the opening try which was converted by Elliott Bale on his first start in a Blues shirt.  Greg Kirkby followed up very quickly with another try from a good passage of play and again Bale was on hand to convert.  The forwards were not to be outdone when from a 5m line out George Micans was driven over in the corner and Bale was on hand to add the extra points.  Kettering were not going to lie down and from a good period of possession they won a penalty which was converted to take the scores to 3 pts : 21 pts.  The Blues defence at the breakdown was much more intense than the previous week and from a turn over ball Hircock added his second try and Bale kept up his 100% conversion record. half time 3 L 28.

                         

The second half saw the Blues make a number of changes to the side, however the pace was still high and from another turn over the ball was sent through a number of hands for Josh Bassett to open his account, with Bale now off the field Aidan Kenny kept the scores moving with the conversion. Both sides were keeping the intensity of the game going despite the very hot weather and from another good lineout win the Blues threw in some excellent midfield hands for Bassett to round off in the far corner and kenny converting. The game went through a quiet patch score wise as both sides fought out an attritional 15 minute period in midfield, with Kettering giving as good as they received in all phases.  The score was continued when jamie Goode rounded off another move and kenny converted.  the final score of the day saw bassett compete his hat trick finishing off another move from line out ball and kenny ensured a 100% record for both kickers.

                                                                            

Kettering were very good opponents and kept battling until the end. The Blues ironed out some of the errors from leinster particularly in the line out and the breakdown area, however there is much to work on but this squad is showing much promise.

Squad; Laird, Hislop, Bristow, Smith, Tift, Tootill, Oliver, Micans, White, Bale, Kenny, Kirkby, Hircock, Bassett, Dodds, Nutley, Peters, Robson, Styles, Clarke, Smith, Goode.

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Bedford Academy 7 pts Leinster Schools 18 pts

The annual fixture with Leinster which acts as a great testing point for both squads before busy seasons produced another physical encounter. Unlike last year this years game was a bit stop start with far too  many set pieces and not enough opportunity for phases of play.

Leinster adapted best to the type of game and in the first half dominated the breakdown area and the line out. The opening score for the schools came from capitalising on Blues mistakes and resulted in a 7 : 0 lead. Bedford attempted to raise the tempo but were thwarted by either an aggressive schools defence or not executing basic skills when under pressure. the half was closed down with a Leinster penalty that left the score 10 : 0 at half time.

                                                

After discussing key areas of break down and skills execution the Academy were much more competitive in the second half, however more stop start set piece and repeat errors saw the Leinster schools edge to an 18 : 0 lead.  The Blues managed to get all 25 players game time and towards the end of the game started to win some quality line out ball and retain ball at the contact area. From a well won line out the ball was quickly moved out to the centres where Corey Hircock cut a good line to score the Blues only try, Elliott Bale converted.

                                                       

This was the Academy's first tough game of the season and many lessons were learnt about the squad and individual players. Leinster were as always excellent opponents and Bedford hope this season to make the journey to Ireland for a return fixture.

Forwards

Backs

Nutley T

Clark

Hislop

Crossland

Robson

Goode

Amos

Smith

Laird

Dodds

Tootill

Weston

Pickett

White

Miccans

Cook

Smith

Bale

Peters

Kirkby

Bristow

Hircock

Rhodes

Kenny

Nutley B

 

Tift

 

 

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Blues have good day at Oxford 10's

The Academy took part in the second year of the Oxford Harlequins Tens, an ideal opportunity for a number of players to get game time before the arrival at Goldington Road of Leinster Schools.

                                                                     

                                                                                  

With a squad of 20 the coaches were able to rotate players to look at positional options and gauge pre-season fitness, execution and game understanding. The end result was the Colts leaving Oxford with the silverware in a competition that included Worcester Wanderers, Rugby Lions and Moseley, but most importantly for the coaches was being able to learn a huge amount about the squad of players who gelled as a unit much earlier than expected.

                                                                                                

                                                                             

The Colts had four games and defensively only succumbed to two breakaway tries, in attack with ball in hand all 20 players looked accomplished and the speed of execution was very good, the score in games was not important it was the method of scoring that was hugely pleasing to coaches and supporters alike.  Having beaten Worcester and Bicester in the group stages the Blues came up against Rugby Lions in the semi and then Worcester again in the final after they had beaten Moseley in their hard fought semi.

                                           

The Academy have concluded a very good pre-season and now kick start the year with the annual home tie against Leinster Schools on 13th Sep at Goldington Road. the squad are ready for a physical and fast paced encounter. All supporters welcomed for a 1pm KO.

 

  Forwards Backs
 

Robson

Clarke
 

Laird

White

 

Nutley

Bale
 

Nutley

Cook
 

Hislop

Hircock

 

Smith

Kirkby

 

Tift

Kenny
 

Toothill

Dodds

 

Oliver

Goode
 

Rhodes

 
 

Styles

 
   

 

Travel reserves

  Amos  
  Peters  
  Bassett  
  Smith  
  Downing  
  Bristow  

Martin Elliott leaves Bedford Academy

Bedford Blues Academy have restructured the back room staff for  the 2009/10 season and Martin Elliott has moved on from his role as Team Manager. Martin has been with the Academy now for a number of years in various roles and was an integral part in the growth of the successful setup that has brought numerous trophies to the club for the Colts side. In his time he has also seen many players progress on to success with the Blues senior side, National 1 and Premiership teams as well as international age grade and senior side honours.

In his role with the club and the East Midlands age grade setup Martin has shown a flair for player identification and recruitment and the Blues wish him all the best as he will continue on his roles with the East Midlands representative sides for the upcoming season. We will no doubt see Martin wearing the blue of Bedford supporting the Academy and the senior side at Goldington Road and away venues during the course of the year. Thanks Martin and good luck.