Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates

Saturday, 3 September, 2016 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 17-26

Bedford Blues start to the new Championship season didn't go as well as they had hoped as they went down 17-26 to Cornish Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues were guilty of lacking a spark on a damp afternoon as they struggled to put phases together against a Cornish side who typically relied on their pack to power them home to a 26-17 win.

Tries from Dean Adamson and Jason Hill were not enough for the hosts who made far too many mistakes and seemed to lack urgency for long periods.

Pirates plundered the booty thanks to a faultless kicking performance from fly-half Will Cargill, who scored 16 points, and scores from Matt Evans and Tom Duncan as they controlled most of the encounter.

Speaking after the final whistle, Blues captain Michael Le Bourgeois said: "I think what wasn’t right really was we didn’t turn up on the day. We were very quiet as a team today. But it was our basic skills, dropped balls, our error count was very high, our discipline was appalling today and they capitalised. They scored their opportunities, but it’s a game we lost today.

“The only way is up for us. It’s about learning now, we’ve got to learn and quickly park it and move on and improve otherwise we’re going to be in battles every week like this, so we’ve got to start winning these games.

“For a club that likes running rugby, this is not what we want to see! But we’ve played in these conditions before, we all know how it works, we’ve got our own systems to get us out, but it’s just the way it went and it didn’t go our way today.”

“It’s not an easy month for us so it’s something we’ve got to work on as a squad and it’s something we’ve got to start fronting up as a team and looking after each other and start getting a bit of a buzz around the team."

Pirates’ intended new yellow away shirts had reportedly been impounded at Heathrow Airport on their way from China, meaning that the visitors sported their traditional black and white colours.

Playing down the slope the Blues made early inroads but couldn’t find a way through despite good runs by Tom Griffiths and Elliot Clements-Hill, while Jordan Burns’ super grubber just didn’t fall for Adamson.

A worrying injury forced Justin Blanchet off on a stretcher as he was replaced by Hill after a long delay – but he later returned to the sidelines to cheer on his team-mates.

Cargill gave Pirates a 21st-minute lead after Bedford were penalised for a dubious-looking high tackle.

In slippery conditions the Pirates employed steepling kicks to good effect, but were hit with a real sucker punch two minutes later when Jake Sharp intercepted and twice hacked ahead past the visitors’ fragmented defence. He was able to pick up and find Adamson to run in under the posts with Sharp easily converting.

Pirates hit back almost immediately as they spread the ball wide and some weak tackling allowed Evans to touch down with Cargill adding the extras.

A careless penalty from kick-off allowed Sharp to level the scores, while a catch-and-drive move close to the visitors’ line was then repelled.

Another clever Sharp chip couldn’t be gathered by George Perkins, before the fly-half then pulled a penalty shot wide from close to halfway.

And Bedford were made to pay in injury time when more weak tackling saw Evans stopped just short of the line and Duncan picked up the pieces with Cargill embellishing his score.

Michael Le Bourgeois juggled a brilliant Burns pass but just couldn’t beat his man, before Pirates pulled further ahead as Cargill added a penalty with the last kick of the half.

Basic errors continued to plague the Blues in the second half as the constant rain made handling difficult.
Pirates for their part were happy to monopolise possession and wind down the clock as Cargill further extended their lead with a 65th-minute penalty.

Bedford rolled the subs as they looked for a spark and Tom James’s quickly-taken penalty took them right up to the line on 68 minutes, but great defence held them out until a penalty won them field position and Hill rumbled over with sub Myles Dorrian converting.

Stirred into action, Bedford attacked from deep with seven minutes left as Josh Buggea broke and found Perkins, but a powerful tackle saw him spill the ball.

Too much ambition from their own line saw Bedford concede a five-metre scrum and then a penalty as Cargill’s penalty made 26-17 with three minutes to play.

Bedford looked for a way back into the game, but Pirates professionally closed it out to deny their hosts a losing bonus point on a damp squib of an afternoon for the Blues.

Blues: Elliot Clements-Hill, George Perkins, Michael Le Bourgeois (C), Tom Griffiths, Dean Adamson, Jake Sharp (Myles Dorrian 67), Jordan Burns (Tom James 61), Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (Hayden Thompson-Stringer 50), Jacob Fields (George Edgson 61), Christian Judge (Dave Spelman 50), Mike Howard (Ed Taylor 67), Will Carrick-Smith, Justin Blanchet (Jason Hill 11), Josh Buggea, Ben Adams. T: Adamson, Hill. C: Sharp, Dorrian. P: Sharp.

Pirates: Toby May, Kyle Moyle, Nicolas De Battista (Thomas Gilbert-Hendrickson 56), Alex Dancer, Matt Evans, Will Cargill, Alex Day (Stuart Townsend 56), Marlen Walker, Jack Innard (Tom Channon 61), Tyler Gendall (Jack Andrew 61), Chris Morgan (C), Brett Beukeboom, Dan Lee (Jake Parker 80), Alex Cheesman (Sam Simmonds 71), Tom Duncan. Replacements not used: Laurence May. T: Evans, Duncan. C: Cargill 2 P: Cargill 4.
Referee: Simon Harding.

Assistant Referees: Andy Watson and Robert Warburton.

Attendance: 2,033.

See more of Nigel Rudgard's pictures HERE



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at