Bedford Blues v Nottingham

Saturday, 3 October, 2015 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Won 28-19

Bedford Blues dug deep and put in a fantastic defensive display as they overcame Nottingham 28-19 at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.

Tries from Pat Tapley, Sam Blanchet and Jordan Burns sealed the win, but it was the defence against the Green and Whites that deservedly took the plaudits at full time as the majority of the 2101 fans went home happy.

Playing up the slope in the opening half, the Blues came hurtling out the blocks in fine fashion and were hitting every Nottingham player who attempted to make a break. The pick of the bunch came from Sam Blanchet who flattened Viliami Hakalo and left the Tongan visibly rocked as he got back to his feet.

However, it proved to be an incentive for the former Blue and he opened the scoring in the ninth minute. The Green and Whites enjoyed a lot of the early possession and then Hakalo managed to find a way through, much to the annoyance of the Blues players who felt that another Nottingham player had played a blocking role in the build up. Dan Mugford added the extras and Goldington Road fell silent.

The Blues soon bounced back though and when a penalty went their way in the 11th minute, Jake Sharp made no mistake to get the scoreboard ticking.

Things got even better for the Blues two minutes later when they scored their first try of the afternoon. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo came surging from the back of a ruck in the Blues 22 before Ollie Dodge carried up field. Bedford went through a couple of phases before Sharp was got the ball to Tapley and the winger still had plenty to do as he avoided the defence and then outpaced Mugford to the line with Sharp converting.

The fly half then added a second penalty to make it 13-7 but Nottingham started to enjoy more of the ball and territory.

Sam Blanchet was carded in the 26th minute when he was adjudged to have deliberately slapped the ball down and Nottingham went to the corner with the kick. However, the attack as short lived as Mark Flanagan read the lineout perfectly to pinch the ball before It was cleared.

Bedford continued to defend well but Nottingham finally made the extra man count as they went over for a second try in the 32nd minute. A penalty went to the visitors and this time the lineout was successful with Paul Grant coming up with the ball from the back of the driving maul but Mugford missed the conversion.

It was soon back up the other end of the field as Bedford went on the attack but the move ended when a Nottingham hand deliberately slapped the ball down in the pass. The penalty went to the Blues but the card stayed in the pocket. Sharp dispatched the three points and although Mugford had the opportunity to reduce the deficit with a penalty of his own, it drifted wide and Bedford led 16-12 as the half came to an end.

After the interval it was more of the same with both teams refusing to give an inch. Nottingham enjoyed plenty of possession but the Blues defensive line was in determined mood and wasn’t in the mood for being breached. Big hits continued to go in and several players took the opportunity for a rest as the game stop-started.

Nottingham continued to put good phases together, but Bedford were always on hand to disrupt the attack. Nick Fenton-Wells and Josh Buggea were constantly putting their bodies on the line while Phil Boulton, Charlie Clare and Hayden Thompson-Stringer were always looking to clear the ruck and produce the ball for a counter attack.

There was around 20 minutes of entertaining stalemate before the Blues found a breakthrough. The visitors took the ball forward, but Bedford turned it over at the ruck with Nick Fenton-Wells stealing the ball and the Mike Howard offloaded superbly to Tapley who stepped on the gas before passing wide to Sam Blanchet who was able to curve his run perfectly and score but the extras went missing.

Nottingham knew that they needed to respond quickly and it took them five minutes thanks to a well worked try. Bedford had already foiled one attempt close to the line before Darryl Veenendaal made a darting run, just like the ones he used to make in a Blues jersey, and recycled the ball to Ricky Andrew who scored before Veenendaal added the extras after Mugford took a knock.

There were still 12 minutes on the clock and Nottingham thought that they could smell blood with the momentum behind them. A kickable penalty was turned down and Nottingham went to the corner but much like England last weekend, it didn’t work out for them as the Blues defence stood firm and repelled the danger.

Despite being under the cosh, Bedford were always looking to break and a lovely, flowing move secured the victory with three minutes left on the clock. Sharp sent a delightful chip over the top and despite chasing hard, he was outpaced by Steffan Jones who took the ball and popped it into the hands of Paul Tupai who could have gone for glory himself, but unselfishly passed the ball out to Jordan Burns allowing the youngster to cross the line with Sharp converting to make it 28-19.

Nottingham went in search of a fourth try which would have given them two bonus points but Bedford weren’t giving an inch and that was opitimised by Paul Tupai who crunched Lawrence Rayner with a huge tackle in the final moments, dislodging the ball and allowing Bedford to see the game out while the opposition fly half was left wondering where he was.

Bedford head off to the Channel Islands next weekend for the always difficult clash against Jersey.


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Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road



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