Bedford Blues v Bristol
For Bedford not to have come away with anything form this game was the biggest disappointment of the afternoon as the Blues went down 19-32 to high flying Bristol.
That said, after the opening half an hour, the Blues were lucky to still be in the game after the visitors had coming firing out the blocks to score three tries which thankfully all went unconverted by Nicky Robinson.
Bedford found their rhythm though with Eoin Sheriff scoring his first Blues try on the 31st minute before impressive youngster Aaron Morris crossed twice to see the Blues leading 19-15 thanks to two Jake Sharp conversions.
Sadly, the Blues couldn’t hold on and three more Bristol tries from Traynor, a second for Watkins and one for centre Ben Mosses secured the win for Bris with replacement fly half Adrian Jarvis converting once.
George Watkins got the scoreboard rolling following a huge scrum from the visitors. Ben Glynn broke following a ruck with the impressive Nick Koster in support and he offloaded to Cardiff Blues bound Watkins for the try.
Three minutes later and it was 0-10 to the visitors and again the try came through the graft of Koster who made a fine line break before popping the ball to Luke Eves to slide over the line.
Bedford had failed to get out of first gear and as Bristol attacked again, Brendan Burke was carded for deliberately slapping the ball out of old teammate Luke Baldwin’s hand. Scott Spurling went off injured with Charlie Clare replacing him and then the powerful Bris scrum took its opportunity from five metres out. Amazingly, and despite three more penalties going their way, they weren’t able to capitalise and Bedford were able to clear. Unfortunately though, the next wave of attack from Bristol did see Koster dotting down in the left corner.
Credit has to go to the Blues though as they didn’t let their heads drop and as they put phases together a breakthrough finally came for Sheriff. Morris had spotted a gap and forced Bristol back into their own 22 before the Blues forward strung together several phases of pick-and-go which resulted in the dual-registered Sarries man reaching over the line for the try with Sharp converting on 31 minutes.
The half finished with Bedford in the ascendancy and Morris benefitted from a wayward Robinson pass that had no chance of finding its intended target. As the ball bounced away from Eves, Morris darted in, should excellent footballing skills to send the ball towards the try line and then gathered his kick to score. Sharp converted and Bedford were back in it 14-15 as the half time whistle blew.
Going down the slope, Bedford came out in determined fashion and took just seven minutes to get their reward. Burke was putting in some huge defensive tackles to keep the visitors at bay and then Bedford got an early penalty. Sharp had a crack from just inside the Bristol half but his effort was short. It mattered no though as the next Blues attack saw a third try.
Captain for the day Mark Atkinson showed an excellent turn of pace to outsmart the oncoming Bristol defence before the ball found its way out towards the left wing. Some quick handling saw Morris in the clear and the winger showed an experienced head as he dived to the try line and stretched over to score an unconverted effort.
There was drama to follow though as Bristol retook the lead just seven minutes later. Having worked the ball into Bedford’s 22 they were awarded a penalty in front of the uprights but Robinson decided that a fourth try should be gotten. He sent the ball to touch and from the resulting lineout the pack trundled over with prop Kyle Traynor coming up with the ball but Jarvis fired the conversion wide.
When Andy Short was carded for a dangerous tackle on Patrick Tapley, it looked as if Bedford may have an opportunity to get back into the game. Sharp played a delightful chip over the top to where Short should have been but as we know, it is an odd shaped ball which bounces in different directions and on this occasion it went straight over the oncoming Tapley’s head and into touch.
That was as good as it got for Bedford though and as the clock ticked down Bristol seized the opportunity to wrap things up with two more tries. Bristol guarded the ball well and went through numerous phases before Watkins spotted the gap and went over to score with Jarvis getting the conversion that put the game two scores away from Bedford.
As the Blues attempted to get what would have been deserved double bonus points (four tries and a defeat less than seven points), they were caught out. Bedford were in their own 22 and went on the charge but as Gillanders went into contact, the ball was ripped from his grasp and possession went to Bristol and finally to Mosses who crossed over to wrap things up 19-32.
A tough one to take on the chin but a hugely improved performance following the disappointment at Headingley a week ago.
Come on you Blues!!!
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