Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates

Saturday, 13 December, 2014 - 14:00
1st XV B&I Cup
Won 41-40

Bedford Blues fans can have themselves a merry little Christmas following an absolute cracker of a game at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon as the home side put on a superb performance to win 41-40.

A brace of tries from Paul Tupai along with one apiece for Dean Adamson, Pat Tapley and James Pritchard – who also converted all five as well as two conversions – ensured that the Blues won in a game that was tense throughout.

The Cornish Pirates – who had racked up a 65-14 win over the Blues just a few weeks ago – were in town looking to reach the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup, but Bedford still had hopes of reaching the final eight and weren’t going to give up without a fight.

The visitors started brightly and were six ahead thanks to two penalties from former Blue Kieran Hallett. Bedford thought that they were straight back into it when Mike Le Bourgeois was on the end of a Jake Sharp grubber, but the ref said he was in front of the kick and came back for a Bedford penalty. Sharp put it to touch and fro the resulting catch and drive, Paul Tupai was bundled over and Pritchard converted to put the home side ahead.

The lead lasted just five minutes though. The Pirates went on the offensive and with Bedford failing to re-organise centre Tom Riley jinked his way over for the first of his three tries of the afternoon and Hallett assed the extras.

It was non-stop action though and Bedford looked to bounce straight back and they nearly got there when Harry Wells pinched a lineout in the Blues 22 and the ball went through the backs to Tapley who turned on the gas. He was downed five metres from the Pirates line but Kieran Goss didn’t let him up and was carded for his efforts. The penalty went to touch and a well-worked move saw Tom Williams coming close before the ball was recycled and Pritchard crossed before converting his own effort.

Bedford made the numerical advantage count and they scored one of the best tries seen at Goldington Road in a long time soon afterwards. The Blues forwards worked heroically in their own 22 to turn over a Pirates ruck before the ball came to Sharp who put a perfectly weighted chip over the oncoming defence before rushing around to collect it before it bounced. Sharp made yards before offloading to Le Bourgeois who cut inside, drew the last defender and played in Adamson who had the gas to outpace everyone to score next to the posts giving Pritchard a simple conversion.

Pritchard was called into action in the 34th minute when the visitors gave away another penalty which he dispatched before Hallett added three points of his own just before the break to make it 24-16.

The opening exchanges of the second half went the way of the Pirates and they slowly clawed their way back into things. The visitors created an overlap and Riley was able to cross once again with Hallett converting to make it 24-23 in the 45th minute.

Seven minutes later and the visitors took the lead when some swift handling and a swifter pair of heels saw winger Max Bodily crossing in the left corner with Hallett converting superbly from the touchline.

Bedford didn’t let their heads drop though and looked to bounce straight back. After winning a penalty on the halfway line, Sharp punted the ball downfield but it looked like it wasn’t going to find touch. Thankfully, it ball went over the final Pirate and kindly bounced the right side of the flag giving Bedford a superb platform. Replacement hooker Charlie Clare found his man, the ball came to Toops and the forwards rolled over with the Samoan coming up with the ball and Pritchard making it 31-30.

Back up the other end and Hayden Thompson-Stringer fell afoul of the ref when he was judged to have made a dangerous tackle eight metres out and was binned. Hallett converted the penalty to make it 31-33.

With the extra man, the visitors looked to turn the screw a little but Bedford just wouldn’t let them. Having pinned them back in their own half, the Pirates looked to kick for territory but the effort was run down and Tapley had the legs to reach the ball, kick ahead and then dot down for the fifth Blues try of the afternoon which was converted.

The men from Cornwall needed a response, but their bind at the scrum let them down and Pritchard extended the lead to 41-33 with a well struck penalty.

Drama unfolded in the final minutes though. The Cornish Pirates surged forward and despite calls for a knock-on, offside and holding on, the visitors played to the whistle and Riley went under the posts with Hallett coolly drop kicking the conversion to make it 41040 with three minutes remaining.

The final phases where watched through fingers as the visitors took in the restart and slowly started rumbling their way up the field. Phase after phase followed, but staunch defending from the Blues paid dividends as a knock on in the tackle brought the game to an end.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

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Next Home Match

Friday 24th November
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
7.45pm

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Photography

See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at

frontrow.photium.com