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Denis Ormesher: Academy Director.

Denis was born in Liverpool and educated at St. Edward’s College and Sheffield University. He played for Sheffield University and for Liverpool. 

Denis, who started coaching in the Junior Blues, was Academy Manager for 8 years, before leaving the Blues to become Director of Rugby at Luton in 2008. Denis returned to the Blues in 2010 as Academy Director. He has worked with the East Midlands Under 18 squads and coached the East Midlands Under 20s. Denis is a RFU Level 4 Coach and RFU Coach Educator/Tutor. 

Denis works in a Global Business Development and Operations role for a Pharmaceutical Contract Organisation. He is married with a daughter and two sons. 

Date Joined Bedford:             2000

Sporting Hero:                      Muhammed Ali, Steve Redgrave

3 Dinner Companions:          Antonio Carlucci, Stephen Fry, Paul Merton


John Kearsley – Team Manager

John was born in Southend and educated at Westcliff High School, before graduating from the University of Roehampton, and completing his Post Graduate Certificate of Education at Hull University.

John moved to Bedford in 1992.  He taught PE at Sandy Upper School and has played a variety of sports including rugby, football, and basketball, and he currently enjoys playing touch rugby.

John is an RFU Level 2 coach.  He has coached and managed teams at the Junior Blues and was Coaching Co-Ordinator last season and is Head Coach of the U16s for 2013/14.  He is also backs coach with Bedfordshire County U16 XV.  John has run the Bedford Blues Touch League for the last thirteen years and is involved in refereeing and coaching the game.  John is a part-time sports coach.

John is married with a daughter and a son.

Date Joined Bedford:             2013

Sporting heroes:  Bobby Moore, Andy Ripley

3 Dinner Companions:  Trevor Brooking, Karen Brady, Seb Coe


James Hinkins. Head Coach.

James was born in 1977 and was educated at Dover Grammar School for Boys and De Montfort University, Bedford.

James, who joined the Blues in 1995, played for the Blues Development XV (Under 23) and 2nd XV before making his Blues 1st XV debut in the 1997/98 season.  James had a short spell at Moseley in the 2002/03 season before rejoining the Blues and going on to play more than 130 games at wing and full back for the Blues 1st XV.  James left the Blues in 2008 and spent two years playing for Cambridge before retiring from playing early in 2010.

James, who is one of only four players who have been granted testimonial games by the Blues, is an RFU Level 3 Coach.  He is married with a young daughter, and is Head of PE at Cedars Upper School, Leighton Buzzard.

Date Joined Bedford:       1995

Sporting Hero:                Daley Thompson and Liam Roberts

3 Dinner Companions:     Daley Thompson, Dick Van Dyke, Patrick Swayze


Alan Brown. Backs Coach.

Alan was born in 1977 and educated at Bedford Modern School and De Montfort University, Bedford. 

Alan, who joined the Blues in 1994, played for the Blues Colts, Development XV (Under 23) and 2nd XV.  He coached the Blues U19s during an injury lay off in 1997-98 while still at University, before moving to London to work for the RFU and became player/coach at Richmond. He moved back to Bedford and played for Kettering before injury ended his playing days.

He re-joined the Blues, coaching the Academy in 2004/05, before leaving the Blues in 2007 to take up the post of Head Coach at Ampthill, where he won two league titles and the East Midlands Cup. 

Alan is an RFU Level 3 coach. He is a coach educator and assessor for the RFU and has worked as a Rugby Development Officer for the RFU. He is married, with a young daughter, and teaches PE at Biddenham School.

Date Joined Bedford:       1994

Sporting Hero:                Ian Botham

3 Dinner Companions:     Stephen Fry, Morgan Freeman, James Corden 


Steve Guest: Backs Coach.

Steve was born in Derby and was educated at JohnPortSchool, Derby, and De Montfort University. He played for Worcester, De Montfort University, Kempston, Bedford Queens and Bedford Athletic. 

He has coached at Bedford Athletic, Bedfordshire County Juniors, and presently helps out with the Junior Blues Under 7s as well as being the Under 19 Colts backs coach.  Steve is an RFU Level 3 Coach. 

Steve is married, with two young sons, and teaches Physical Education at Bedford School. 

Date Joined Bedford:                2000

Sporting Hero:                         Gary Mabutt and Steve Redgrave

3 Dinner Companions:              Brian Clough, Christopher Guest, Mohammed Ali 


Rich Candlin: Forwards Coach.

Rich was born in Birmingham and educated at Great Barr School, Birmingham.  He studied Sport and Environmental studies at De Montfort University, Bedford, and completed his Teacher Training at Hertfordshire University.  He played 2nd row for Coventry before joining Bedford Blues in 1997.  He played for the Blues U21 XV and Development XV making his Blues 1st XV debut in 1999.  Rich spent a year playing in Ireland for De La Salle Palmerston in Dublin, before joining Cambridge in 2002.  He retired from playing in 2008.

Rich is an RFU Level 3 coach who has coached the Hertfordshire U15 squad and was Director of Coaching at Letchworth until 2011.

Rich is married with two young sons and is a PE teacher and Associate Principal at Samuel Whitbread Community College in Shefford.

Date Joined Bedford:                1997

Sporting Hero:                         Michael Jordan

3 Dinner Companions:              Jenifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Hugh Lawrie


Gregor Gillanders: Forwards Coach.

Gregor was born in Dundee and educated at Bishop Stopford School.  He is currently studying through the Open University for a degree in Engineering.      He played 2nd row for Leicester Tigers from 2005 – 2008 (including a spell with Coventry on dual registration) before joining Bedford Blues in 2008. 

Gregor made 7 appearances for England Under 19s, including the U19 World Cup in Belfast.  He played for England U20s in the Six Nations tournament, and played in every England game in the U20 World Cup in 2007 when England finished runners up.

Gregor, who was the Bedford Times & Citizen readers’ Player of the Season for the 2012/13 season, has played over 140 games for the Blues, and although signed as a 2nd row has played most of his rugby for the Blues in the back row.

Date Joined Bedford:                2008

Sporting Hero:                         Most British Rugby players from the 90s

3 Dinner Companions:              Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Evangeline Lilly, Eva Mendes


Neil Harris: Forwards Coach.

Neil was born in Norwich and educated at Wymondham High School and De Montfort University, Bedford.  He joined the Blues Academy in 2000, when he came to University in Bedford, and played at prop for the Blues U19s, U21s, 2nd XV and 1st XV.  Since then he has played for Wymondham, Norwich and Luton.

Neil is an RFU Level 2 coach, and a SAQ instructor, who has coached the Hertfordshire U14, and U15 squads and was Head Coach at Luton before before joining the Blues coaching team in 2012.

Neil is a teacher, and is Head of Rugby and Head of Boys Games at St George's School, Harpenden.

Date joined Bedford        2000

Sporting Hero                 Steven Redgrave

3 dinner companions       Jessica Ennis, Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington


Harriet Cole - Sports Therapist

Harriet was born in Bedford and educated at SharnbrookUpperSchool before graduating with an honours degree in Sports Therapy in 2006 from the University of Hertfordshire.  Harriet’s personal interests are within sports and fitness and she is a keen runner.  She has achieved recognition at county, national, and international level for horse riding. 

Harriet works in a private practice in the BMI Manor Hospital Biddenham, with her main interests in injury assessment, rehabilitation and sports massage.  Harriet has also been working with a PGA tour player, which has taken her across the pond on several occasions enabling her to escape cold winter training sessions in Bedford.

Harriet works with the Under 19 squad and is responsible for their match day medical cover, injury assessment and subsequent rehabilitation programmes. 

Date Joined Bedford:                2007

Sporting Hero:                         Lance Armstrong

3 Dinner Companions:              My granddad as I never got to meet him, Alan Carr or another comic, Myself in 10 years time


Kelly Loftus - Physiotherapist



Matt Williams – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Matt was born in Wellingborough and educated at Weavers School before graduating with an Honours degree in Applied Sports Science from the University of Bedfordshire in 2008.  He completed his Post Graduate Certificate of Education in 2011 and is currently completing an MSc in Sports Performance.

Matt began as a swimmer at County level, competing in various National competitions, and played football as a centre back.  He played rugby at Wellingborough RFC from Under 14 - Under 19 as a centre and second row; for the East Midlands Under 16 and Under 17s squads, and for the University of Bedfordshire.

Matt lectures in Physiology, Biomechanics and Research Methods, at Barnfield College (in association with the University of Bedfordshire) and has also worked as a personal trainer.

Matt works as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Under-19 squad working on their physical development and testing of fitness.

Date joined Bedford:       2012

Sporting hero:                Mark Foster, Jonah Lomu

3 Dinner Companions:     Jonah Lomu, Albert Einstein, Scarlett Johansson


Gareth Davies:

Gareth originates from St. Davids in Pembrokeshire. He played county rugby and cricket in Wales before moving to Bedfordshire in 1983.

Gareth is an RFU Level 2 coach and for several years was a junior coach at Ampthill RFC before becoming involved with the Bedfordshire County RFU, where he coached from U14s to U16s. He is Squad Manager for East Midlands U16s, and assists the WRU as Squad Manager for the Welsh Exiles, where he has overseen the development of many players who have gained international honours.

Gareth, who stepped down from the Academy Team Manager role in 2013, continues to support the Blues Academy with player recruitment.

Gareth is employed as a Civil Servant and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute. He is married with two daughters and a son.

Date Joined Bedford: 2011

Sporting Hero: Steve Redgrave, Don Bradman

3 Dinner Companions:     Richie Benaud, Cliff Morgan, Peter Alliss


Blues Academy - Contact Details





Denis Ormesher

Academy Director

07909 903344


John Kearsley

Team Manager

07504 648975


James Hinkins

Head Coach

07709 493519


Alan Brown


07852 432907


Rich Candlin



07859 896462


Gregor Gillanders



07840 210138


Steve Guest


07855 499636


Neil Harris


07411 209592


Corey Hircock



07460 486772


Matt Williams


Strength & Conditioning Coach

07769 321810


Harriet Cole

Sports Therapist

07921 480712


Kelly Loftus



07870 805477



Next Home Match

Saturday 19th April
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road