Bedford Blues v Doncaster Knights

Saturday, 10 January, 2015 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Won 35-29

Bedford Blues maintained their unbeaten start to 2015 but they left it very late to overcome a determined Doncaster Knights side who had led for the majority of the game.

In fact, the winning try came with 15 seconds left on the clock as Jake Sharp found himself out on the right wing to dot down and send the Goldington Road crowd into rapturous applause before James Pritchard tied a bow on the game to convert and make the score 35-29.

Doncaster winger Dougie Flockhart nudged his team ahead in the second minute with a well placed penalty but there were cheers around the ground from the restart when Dean Adamson dumped Knights lock Jon Phelan as he tried to go over the number 11.

Pritchard levelled the scoring in the fifth minute with a penalty of his own before Flockhart and he exchanged penalties twice more to make it nine apiece in the 31st minute.
The visitors benefitted from some lax tackling by the Blues and fly half Piers Francis was able to go from one end of the pitch to the other and set up the opening try. As the back went to ground, the forwards took over and set up a maul and Latu Makaafi bundled his way over with Flockhart adding the extras.

Bedford were still recovering from the setback when Donnie went over for a second five minutes later. The Blues gave away a cheap penalty and Francis sent the ball to touch. The lineout was taken in and the drive took the Knights to the line before Makaafi broke away and rolled over for his second. Flockhart converted and the visitors led 9-23 at the break.

The Blues needed to start well in the second half and set up camp in Donnie’s 22 but were unable to turn territory into points despite Darryl Veenendaal touching the ball down only to be pulled back for a double movement.

Doncaster went on the attack and should have scored a third try when Andy Bulumakau galloped towards the left corner only to be smothered out by the Blues defence. A penalty soon arrived and Flockhart took the points on offer to extend the Knights’ lead.

Something seemed to click for Bedford and all of a sudden there was an urgency to their play which was soon rewarded. The Blues were turning on the style up front before the ball went down the back line to Pat Tapley who spotted a gap. Despite having his legs taken away from him, the forwards were on hand to bulldoze him over the line and Pritchard converted.

Doncaster then shot themselves in the foot when impressive fullback Paul Jarvis was carded. Bedford secured a scrum and found a gap which they exploited but as they made for the line, Jarvis killed the ball a couple of metres out and was sent to the bin.

Bedford made the extra man count and it took just a few minutes before Adamson – who was to pick up the man of the match award after the game – crossed for a deserved try. Donnie had defended superbly up front, but when the Blues won a quick lineout and sent the ball along the backs and with the numerical advantage, Adamson worked his way over in the corner for an unconverted try.

As Jarvis prepared to return, Bedford turned the screw to score their third of the afternoon. Doncaster had the ball in their half but for some reason they went for a chip and chase which didn’t work when Mike Le Bourgeois plucked the ball from just above his head. The centre turned on the gas, but the Knights covered well and dragged him to the floor a couple of metres from the line. Replacement scrum half Pete White popped the ball to Jake Sharp and he went over from close range with Pritchard converting to put the Blues ahead for the first time in the game.

28-26 was always a precarious score line and Doncaster knew that if they could apply some pressure then a penalty may come. Patient build up was the key and the visitors earned a scrum in Bedford’s 22 which then turned into a penalty and Flockhart made no mistake to nose his side back in front with two and a half minutes to go.

The restart was taken in by the visitors and then they slowly inched forward with the hope of retaining the ball and seeing the game out. Bedford weren’t going to roll over though and they piled in and forced a knock on. White whipped the ball out and Le Bourgeois crashed through to set up a great attacking platform. A couple of phases followed before the ball was offloaded to Sharp who scored and Pritchard converted.

Bedford will be looking to continue their recent form when they head to Rotherham next weekend.


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