Bedford Blues v Rotherham Titans

Friday, 16 October, 2015 - 19:45
1st XV Championship
Won 46-28

There is always a buzz about Goldington Road when it’s Friday Night Lights and Bedford Blues repaid the 2574 faithful fans who turned out with an evening of running rugby and fine tries as they defeated Rotherham Titans 46-28.

Two for Jordan Burns, a penalty try and then one apiece for Henry Staff, Piers O’Conor and Tom Griffiths along with 16 points from Jake Sharps boot did the damage although the visitors – who had trailed 41-0, did rally to secure a try bonus point.

The Blues laid down a marker in the first minute when they put huge pressure on the Titans from the kick off and the visitors had no choice but to kick the ball behind when a pass failed to find its target. The Bedford scrum was immense from five metres out and the ref awarded a penalty as Rotherham buckled with Sharp dispatching the three points.

Rotherham then had a fair amount of possession over the next few minutes but the Blues defensive line held firm before forcing a turnover which eventually led to the first try of the night as Jordan Burns was played in to dart clear before Sharp added the extras.

Sharp failed with a drop goal attempt a few moments later before adding a second penalty of the night in the 17th minute after a quick Burns break caused all sorts of issues for the defence who then infringed again.

Bedford continued to be in the ascendancy in terms of possession and territory – Rotherham only entered the Blues 22 once or twice in the entire half – but had to wait until the 31st minute for a second try and it was truly one for the pack.

Burns and Nick Fenton-Wells had been involved in build-up play before O’Conor made a break for the line only to be held up. Bedford dominated the scrum which went down and the ref awarded a penalty. Same thing happened on the second attempt and Mr Harding had a word with the Titans skipper. On the third attempt a yellow card followed for Charlie Maddison and when it went down a fourth time there was no hesitation to run under the posts with Sharp converting.

Bedford made the extra man count and four minutes later they took their lead to 27-0 with a well worked try. Josh Buggea made a superb break to carry the ball into the Rotherham 22 before the ball was shipped wide to debutant Griffiths who played in his centre partner Staff to run in the score with Sharp again converting.

Rotherham’s miserable first half was pretty much summed up in the final move of the half where they managed to put some good phases together before haplessly knocking on.

The second half was only one minute old when Rotherham received their second yellow card of the evening. Sharp sent a delightful chip across the field to O’Conor who turned on the gas and ran into the Titans’ 22 only to be on the receiving end of a high tackle from Curtis Wilson who was sent to the bin.

Bedford immediately made the extra man count as O’Conor secured the try bonus point. Bedford kicked to touch before going through a few pick and goes to inch towards the line. With men over, the ball came along the line with Mike Howard – who was making his 200th appearance – showing great hand speed which was matched by Mark Flanagan who popped the ball to O’Conor who darted across the whitewash with Sharp again converting.

Rotherham were rattled and Bedford punished them further a few minutes later as Burns scored his second of the night. Immediately form the restart, Griffiths and Dean Adamson ran riot but a final pass went slightly forward. It didn’t matter though, as the Blues won the scrum against the head and Hayden Thompson-Stringer ploughed his way forward. Burns and Sharp linked well before Griffiths turned provider again with a neat pass to Burns who had a clear enough run for the line. Sharp again converted to make it 41-0 in the 50th minute.

This may seem a one-sided match report, but that’s because up until this moment it pretty much was. Rotherham finally kicked into gear and went back to basics to get their first score of the night. The visitors sent a penalty to the five metre line and their driving maul did the rest with number 8 Tim Cree coming up with the ball which was sent over the posts by Ross Jones.

Bedford soon took the wind out of the Titans sails though, as they ran in a superb sixth and it was scored by Griffiths who had a superb evening. The youngster simply cut the Rotherham defence to pieces and then produced a show-and-go which gave him enough room to change direction and score an unconverted try which made it 46-7.

Fatigue was certainly starting to set in for both sides, but Rotherham took advantage of some Blues ill-discipline to finish on a high and secure a try bonus point of their own. Each came following a lineout after Bedford had given away a penalty.

In the 60th minute Bedford appeared to have defended the driving maul well, but the Titans threw the ball out wide to Ben Rath who crossed in the corner. Following a brief consultation with his assistant, the referee awarded the try and Jones kicked a superb conversion which bounced over the posts.

Three minutes later and it was déjà-vu of the Titans first try as the driving maul bundled over but this time it was replacement hooker Jack Preece with the score and Jones converting.

Bedford did continue to press for another try and the crowd thought that Mike Howard was on his way when he had a clear run from the edge of the 22, but the referee (rightly) pulled it back for a forward pass and denied the newest member of the 200 club a sure try.

Five minutes from time and Rotherham got their fourth through Luke Carter. A lineout was collected and Roth rolled on with multiple penalty advantages before the scrum half slipped through to score with Jones again converting.

Bedford played the final minutes with 14 when Charlie Clare was the recipient of a yellow card following numerous team infringements, but in fairness, everyone was cream crackered and the referees whistle came as a relief to two teams who had worked their socks off.

The Blues are a work in progress but they will travel to Ealing next Saturday with renewed vigour and hoping to put in another good display.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

For more of Nigel Rudgard's match day photos click 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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