Bedford Blues v Ealing Trailfinders

Saturday, 5 March, 2016 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Won 33-24

As much as I don’t want to say it, it really was a game of two halves at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon as Bedford Blues recovered from 7-24 down to beat Ealing Trailfinders 33-24.

Despite a second minute try, the Blues were on the back foot during the opening 40 with a resurgent Ealing running in three converted tries and a penalty to lead by 17 at the break.

Whatever was said at the interval had the desired effect as Bedford shut up shop in defence and scored four tries to win the game and send their fans home happy.

A strong opening led to Blues scoring within 120 seconds. Ealing collected the ball and sent it to touch, but the Blues scored a cracking try form the lineout. Tom Griffiths – who went on to be named man of the match – sliced through the defence and then popped the ball to Piers O’Conor who turned on the gas to score with Myles Dorrian chipping over the conversion.

But that was as good as it got in the first 40 as Ealing slowly took a commanding hold on the game. Ben Ward slotted an 8th minute penalty to narrow the gap before the visitors pack got the upper hand in the scrum. Bedford started conceding penalties and Ealing took territory. A lineout six or seven metres from the Blues try line resulted in a powerful maul and flanker Arthur Ellis dotting down with Ward adding the extras.

Four minutes later and it was 7-17 as the visitors crossed for a second. Another penalty saw the ball sent to touch on the edge of Bedford’s 22. The maul was formed but Bedford did well to deal with it only to see the ball go along the line to Rhys Crane who slid in to score and Ward again converted.

Nothing was going Bedford’s way and Ealing went further ahead in the 25th minute when a speedy break saw fullback Luke Daniels dance his way through the Blues defence and score beside the posts giving Ward a simple conversion to make it 7-24.

Bedford finally kicked into gear and started to enjoy a bit of possession before sending a penalty deep into Ealing’s 22. Unfortunately the ball was pinched but the clearance kick was sliced and Bedford had a reprieve. This time, the ball was secured but as the forwards pushed on, the ball was lost and Ealing cleared.

The Blues then lost Joe Latta to injury as the half headed toward its conclusion but Bedford managed to make their way down the slope once more only to be met by a stubborn Trailfinders defence who weren’t allowing an inch and then won two penalties to take the ball back up the field. Ealing went for another driving maul, but Bedford held their own before seeing out the half.

Heading up the slope in the second half, Bedford had it all to do and the first thing they did was hold onto the ball and enjoy making ground. Mike Howard, Justin Blanchet and Josh Buggea were all involved with Alex Lundberg and Biyi Alo on hand to crash through while Henry Taylor pulled the strings and Michael Le Bourgeois tackling anything in front of him.

Despite the Blues good start, they conceded a penalty which was kickable but Jonny Bentley pulled the effort wide much to the relief of the Bedford camp.

In the 51st minute Bedford’s persistence paid off as they scored a wonderful try. The Blues broke through Joel Conlon who had support just inside of him, but ‘Big Red’ wasn’t going to let the backs take the glory! He performed a stunning show-and-go to avoid the penultimate defender and then just swatted to final one away before running under the posts to give Dorrian a simple conversion.

Bedford were in the ascendancy, but Ealing weren’t going to let their lead slip easily and they went on the hunt for a fourth try as a penalty was sent deep into the Blues 22. However, the visitors hooker threw the ball wonky and Bedford were able to clear from the resulting scrum.

It was then the Blues turn to go on the attack and replacement fly half Jake Sharp sent a kick into the Ealing 22. The initial put in was slightly overthrown, but James Currie re-gathered and the Blues inched their way forward only to be held up.

It mattered not though, as the Blues third try soon followed. Bedford secured the scrum and got the ball out which then set up numerous attempts at the line but it was to be former Ealing man Camilo Parilli-Ocampo who bundled his way over with Sharp adding the extras to make it 21-24.

With the Goldington Road faithful in full voice and the wind truly in the Blues sails, it only took five minutes for the home side to get themselves in front. Again, it was a superb break from Griffiths that got things underway and the centre threw a pass inside to the on-rushing Dean Adamson who hurtled clear of the defence and over the line to score with Sharp converting once more.

A depleted Ealing had no answer to the onslaught and Adam Preocanin was carded when he took a man out in the air at the lineout as Bedford went on the hunt for another try. Sharp sent the ball to touch, the maul was formed from the lineout, and Paul Tupai was on hand to put the icing on the cake as he was driven over from close range.

Bedford will be back in action at Goldington Road on Friday night when they host Jersey in the quarter-final of the British and Irish Cup.


See more matchday pics from Nigel Rudgard by clicking HERE.

Next Home Match

Saturday 27th October
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at