Bedford Blues v Doncaster Knights

Saturday, 5 December, 2015 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 13-18

Bedford Blues unbeaten home run came to an end on Saturday afternoon as second placed Doncaster Knights recorded a 13-18 victory at Goldington Road.

Things had looked bright for the Blues in the opening 40 minutes as Joel Conlon crossed the whitewash with Jake Sharp adding the extras along with two penalties, but a first half penalty from Knights winger Dougie Flockhart was followed by five more in the second half to secure the win.

Conditions were far from ideal on Saturday with huge winds causing all sorts of havoc for both sides. The Blues were playing down the slope with the wind advantage in the first 40 and this enabled them to pin Doncaster back on many occasions. Both sides were going full throttle with some huge challenges going in during the opening stages.

A Bedford lineout almost saw a breakthrough then Sam James went short to Josh Buggea who returned the ball before the hooker sprinted upfield to gain some valuable territory before recycling the ball. The Blues won a penalty but Sharp’s attempt cannoned off the upright and Doncaster cleared.

Five minutes later and the Blues found the breakthrough. Doncaster had inched their way forward before being turned over and the Blues put a few pick and go moves together before Joel Conlon seized the ball and, like the proverbial wrecking ball, smashed his way through three of the Knights defence to score with Sharp chipping over the conversion.

Bedford extended their lead moments later when Steffan Jones put in a superb challenge and the forwards joined in the party meaning that the Knights had to cling onto the ball and concede the penalty. Sharp confidently stepped up and struck the ball through the uprights. 

Doncaster made the next phase of possession count as they finally made some ground up the field which should have resulted in a try. With men out wide, they moved the ball quickly but someone took their eye off the ball and knocked on. However, penalty advantage was being played and Flockhart converted from in front of the posts to make it 10-3.

Straight from the restart, Bedford racked up another three points. The Knights collected but Phil Boulton pounced and worked hard at the ruck to earn a penalty which Sharp dispatched with ease.

Doncaster won a penalty from a scrum - something that would become a regular occurrence in the second half - and looked to break through again, but once more the ball was dropped. It was then Bedford’s turn to win a penalty at the scrum ten metres inside the Blues half and Steffan Jones stepped up to have a crack at the posts but his effort fell short and Donny cleared.

While Bedford looked to increase their lead, Doncaster defended well and started picking up penalties which they sent to touch before collecting lineout ball and driving on. After one such move, the forwards broke but Alex Lundberg was on had to clatter the attacked and earn a penalty.

The half ended with Bedford conceding two quick-fire penalties and on the second, Flockhart took the shot at the posts but his effort drifted wide and the ball was sent to touch for half time.

With the wind showing no signs of letting up, Doncaster took full advantage in the second half. The Blues kicked out on the full and the Knights picked up a penalty from the following lineout and maul. Flockhart stepped up and made it 13-6.

The restart then went out on the full from the Blues and this was followed by a dominant Knights scrum which earned a penalty. This time Flockhart’s effort went wide but it allowed Bedford to break and run from their 22 to the edge of Doncaster’s only to throw a forward pass which ended the attack.

Things weren’t going Bedford’s way in the scrum and they again conceded a penalty which Doncaster put into touch in the Blues 22. Bedford did well to hold the driving maul up, but a penalty advantage allowed Declan Cusack to put the ball to touch five metres out and DOncaster set-up again. Bedford’s defence was superb though and they repelled the attacking maul on several occasions before the ball was fed to the backs. The KNights moved it along the line quickly, but a superb challenge from Tom Griffiths resulted in the ball being knocked on with the crowd roaring in appreciation.

Sadly, the Blues conceded a penalty from the resulting scrum and decided to go to the corner but they infringed and Sharp was able to send the ball upfield. The lineout throw was wonky though and then the ref’s arm went up at the scrum and Flockhart made it 13-9 in the 59th minute.

Still Doncaster kept coming and when the Blues were pinged for taking the man in the air at the lineout, Flockhart didn’t need asking twice as he made it a one point game.

Bedford’s opportunities were few in the second half but Pat Tapley, George Perkins and Steffan Jones all made good breaks with Ollie Dodge more than happy to crash through when required, but Donny’s defence was firm and they picked up more penalties with Flockhart putting his team in the lead with nine minutes left on the clock.

Bedford’s miserable second half continued in the 75th minute when a no armed chop tackle was spotted by the referee and Flockhart struck another good kick from a central position to make it 13-18.

The Blues fought all the way until the end and they had one final chance as Myles Dorrian sent a neat chip over the Doncaster defence, but fullback Paul Jarvis was on hand to take the ball in and when there was no sign of if coming out of the ruck, the ref brought the game, and Bedford’s unbeaten home record, to an end.

It’s the B&I Cup next for the Blues with a trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol next Friday night.

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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See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at

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