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Bedford Blues Academy vs Oxford University U21
Having controlled the play for much of the game, poor Blues defence in the middle of the game allowed Oxford University to stay in touch. After taking a half time lead of 19pts - 12, Bedford gave away two tries in the first ten minutes of the second half to give the students a 24pts - 19 lead. The Blues changed their game plan in the last 20 minutes, kept the ball tight and attacked through their forwards to score the winning try and to close out the game for a 26pts - 24 win.
Bedford scored their first after five minutes, a driving lineout from 5m, with No 8 Joss Morgan getting the touch down; fly half Cameron Gregory-Ring converted. Oxford hit back with a break out from their own 22 after 10 minutes and a try to narrow the qap to 7pts - 5. The students went ahead when poor Blues defence from a set scrum saw the students outside centre go through the middle for his second try. The conversion put Oxford ahead by 12pts - 7. The Bedford forwards began to exert pressure on Oxford, and after a series of penalties against the students defending their own line, Bedford worked the ball wide and won three quick rucks before Morgan went over for his second try; Gregory-Ring converted and Bedford were 14pts - 12 ahead. Prop Tom Webb extended the lead to 19pts - 12 when he drove over from close range.
Bedford had the advantage of the slope in the second half but it was Oxford who looked the more dangerous side. The students' outside centre cut through the middle to score his third try, which was converted to put the scores level on 19pts all three minutes after half time. Five minutes later Oxford went into the lead when they went blind from a set scrum, to score in the corner and take a 24pts - 19 lead. Bedford continued to win the majority of possession but were unable to create any opportunities wide out. The Blues changed their game plan in the last 20 minutes to attack through their forwards and Morgan crashed over from short range for his third try; Gregory-Ring converted and Bedford were 26pts - 24 ahead. Bedford kept the ball tight for the last ten minutes and denied Oxford any further chances.
Blues Academy Director Denis Ormesher said ... "This was a game we should have had sewn up much earlier. We controlled much of the play but our defence let us down. We were pleased with the performance of our forwards who were more than a match for their older opponents. Our control in the last 20 minutes was excellent, denying Oxford the ball and closing out the game for a good win. This should teach us some useful lessons about managing a game more effectively and playing to our strengths."
Bedford: Josh Pierterse, Josh Taylor, Tom Webb, Matt Norfolk-Clarke, Ben Patterson, Kennett O'Neill (capt), Reece Lane, Joss Morgan; Ben Calder, Cameron Gregory-Ring; Keano van Dieman, George Elliott, Freddie Henley-Hunter, Luke Hibberd; Henry Rawlings; Subs: Ollie Dancer, Joe Foreman, Callum Austen, Haydn Bevis-Knowles, Kieran Duffin, Eric Edwin, Dan Hope, Scott Lyle.