Bedford Blues v Jersey

Saturday, 4 October, 2014 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Won 25-20

Goldington Road was treated to a rollercoaster game in the Greene King IPA Championship on Saturday afternoon as Bedford dug in deep to pick up a deserved win over a defiant Jersey side who battled until the final whistle.

It was a day of threes with three tries for the hosts through James Pritchard, Patrick Tapley and Jake Sharp, three for the visitors via Drew Locke, Nicky Griffiths and Martin Garcia-Veiga and referee Andrew Jackson showing three yellow cards during the 80 minutes to Sam Lockwood, Mike Howard and Mark McCrea.

Blues forwards coach Martin Hynes was left thrilled with his pack’s scrummaging performance as they overpowered the usually solid Jersey forwards on a regular basis to set up numerous attacking platforms for the backs to exploit. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the visitors though as Jersey utilised their rolling maul to create the majority of their attacks.

The visitors started the afternoon in fine form and an early penalty allowed them to kick the ball deep in Bedford’s 22. The lineout and maul made ground before the Blues snuffed out the attack on the try line. Darryl Veenendaal kicked the ball down field but it was returned through speedster Tommy Bell who got a pass off as he was tackled and Locke crossed the line.

Bedford regrouped and when Pritchard was presented with a very kickable penalty he made no mistake to reduce the gap. Bell then responded with a huge penalty kick from inside his half to make it 3-8.

The first yellow card came moments after the restart when Jersey prop Sam Lockwood put in a dangerous looking tackle in front of the referee who had no option but to give him a ten minute breather. Despite being a man down, the visitors put up a defensive barrier which the Blues just could not penetrate and they came close to scoring again when Bell was put through but the greasey ball slipped out of his grasp as he crossed the whitewash.

The second yellow card came minutes before the half time whistle. There appeared to have been a bit of argy-bargy between Eoin Sheriff and Sam Lockwood which was nothing more than handbags but as other players got involved it began to look a bit more menacing and it resulted with Howard being given a card.

Bedford started the second half in the best possible fashion when an attempted clearance moments after kick-off was charged down. The ball popped up Bedford’s side and was sent along the back line to Pritchard who crossed the line but couldn’t convert his effort.

Mr Reliable put the conversion miss behind him and added three more points form in front of the posts in the 51st minute to give Bedford a three point lead but it lasted just two minutes. Jersey picked up a penalty and sent the ball to touch before the rolling maul made its way towards the posts. Griffiths spotted his opportunity to score and Bell converted to make it 11-15.

It was end-to-end stuff and it was Bedford’s turn to go on the attack. Tapley had gone a dazzling run but the final ball to Nick Fenton-Wells had too much on it, but moments later Jim Wigglesworth skittled his way through the Jersey defence before picking out his fellow wingman to run under the posts giving Pritchard an easy conversion.

Pritchard pulled a 60th minute penalty just wide of the sticks and Jersey were able to put another attack together which ended with them utilising the driving maul once again when Bedford gave away a soft penalty in the 65th minute. Jersey piled forward and hooker Martin Garcia-Veiga came up with the ball but Bell’s conversion dragged to the right of the sticks.

Things were getting a bit nervous for everyone with the score at 18-20 and Bedford were on the attack once again and knocking on the door. Jersey killed the ball and something appeared to have been said by Jersey winger Mark McCrea who was carded immediately. Bedford went to touch from the penalty and set up another attack. The ball came to the backs and Sharp sold a fantastic dummy to leave the defence standing and crossed over to score with Pritchard converting.

Jersey continued to look for a way back into it, but Bedford’s dominating scrum stood firm and ensured that the first home victory of the campaign was secured.


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