Bedford Blues v Jersey

Saturday, 13 February, 2016 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 18-25

Bedford Blues were left ruing missed opportunities on Saturday afternoon as they went down 18-25 to Jersey.

The Blues had started the game well as they raced into a 12-0 lead thanks to tries form Paul Tupai and Tom Griffiths, but the Islanders kept chipping away and got their noses in front with five minutes to go before running in a late try to wrap things up.

Bedford’s cause wasn’t helped by two yellow cards in the first half for Justin Blanchet and Tupai, but things were made harder still when Blanchet received a second – and ultimately a red card – with eight minutes left on the clock.

It was a damp and chilly afternoon at Goldington Road when Myles Dorrian got the action underway but Bedford were soon putting pressure on the visitors as they headed down the slope. Dorrian sent a delightful chip over the rushing defence but unfortunately the bounce went away from Michael Le Bourgeois and he was prevented from a clear run through.

Le Bourgeois almost found a way through moments later when a Blues lineout set up a good platform and he sold a dummy perfectly to open up some space. Credit to Jersey, they regrouped and brought their old teammate down and then forced a knock on to end the move.

Bedford set up camp in the Jersey half and got a penalty which Dorrian fired into touch. Charlie Clare found his man with the put-in before Tupai broke from the back of the driving maul to score the unconverted try.

Nick Fenton-Wells was his usual self and earned the Blues another penalty as he wrapped up a tackle and forced the player to hang onto the ball. The kick to touch was found and although the maul couldn’t get going, Bedford utilised a pick and go move only for the ref to pull it back for crossing.

It was soon Jersey’s turn to have a run and they almost found a way through as they spread the ball towards the left wing but former Blue Alex Rae couldn’t take the final pass and conceded a knock on.

Pat Tapley, Sam Blanchet and Piers O’Conor all looked threatening with ball in hand and Jersey often had to send two or three players in to prevent them finding a way through.

With such a tight game, things flared up on occasions between the forwards and a handbag was spotted on a couple of times which resulted in Jersey sending a penalty to touch only for the Blues to pinch it from five metres out.

Another Jersey penalty set up a driving maul which resulted in Justin Blanchet being carded as he came in from the side. Jersey went to touch but overthrew the lineout and Bedford escaped danger.

Bedford soaked up pressure and then scored their second try despite being on the back foot. Dorrian made a great break from halfway before Pete White took over. With men outside, he sent a grubber through which looked to be dealt with by the Islanders, but Tom Griffiths recovered the ball and darted over the line with Dorrian adding the extras.

It was back in to the Bedford 22 and another yellow card followed as Tupai was judged to have brought down a maul and made no effort to move away from the ball. Jersey looked to lineout and drive but they then came in from the side and Bedford won the penalty which went to touch to end the half.

Still down to 13, Bedford conceded an early second half try when they earned a penalty which went to touch. Up against six forwards, the Jersey maul rumbled on before the ball came out to Thomas Howe who scored with Brendan Cope adding the extras.

Dorrian had the chance to add three points when Jersey were caught offside, but his 46th minute effort pulled wide of the uprights. Cope made no mistake when a chance presented itself to the Islanders four minutes later, with his penalty making it 12-10.

It was Bedford’s turn to go on the attack and they pushed extremely hard but again, Jersey defended well and forced the Blues out of the 22 and onto the back foot only to see Dorrian hit a superb drop goal to make it 15-10.

Jersey went on the attack with their forwards starting to make good ground up the middle of the field before Sami Fisilau went over from close range to score and Cope converted once again to put his team ahead.

Back the ball went into Jersey’s 22 from a Blues penalty, but a mistake at the lineout let the visitors off but as they went to clear the ball, several players were offside and Dorrian converted the penalty to put Bedford a point ahead.

It was a precarious lead and sadly, it was one that wasn’t to last. Justin Blanchet received a second yellow card when he was judged to have gone in late on a Jersey player and from there, the visitors moved back into the Blues half.

Despite repelling several attacks, Bedford were pinged at the scrum and Cope didn’t need to be asked twice as the kicking tee was brought on and the fly half chipped the ball over the sticks.

Bedford continued to look for a final opportunity and as the clock started to rundown, they were enjoying plenty of possession as they inched their way towards the Jersey try line. Bedford had a couple of chances and nearly found a way through but as the ball headed out to the right wing, Richard Lane nipped in and galloped clear to score for Jersey and seal the win.

With no game next weekend, the Blue have a fortnight to prepare for the always challenging visit to Clifton Lane to face Rotherham Titans. 

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

See more pics from Nigel Rudgard by clicking HERE.

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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