Bedford Blues v Ulster A

Saturday, 21 November, 2015 - 15:00
1st XV B&I Cup
Won 27-18

Bedford maintained their unbeaten home record this season with an excellent 27-18 win over Ulster ‘A’ which keeps the Blues at the top of British & Irish Cup Pool 2.

Some fantastic running rugby saw Piers O’Conor, Jordan Burns and Steffan Jones all crossing the whitewash while Jake Sharp had an excellent day from the kicking tee as the Blues turned pink for the annual Ladies Day fixture that was attended by a wonderful 2303 fans. 

That’s not to say that the Blues had it all there own way and if Ulster’s Sam Windsor had his kicking radar as finely tuned as Sharp’s, then the result could have been a different one.

Playing down the slope in the opening 40 minutes, Bedford put the visitors under pressure from the off as Alex Lundberg charged down an attempted clearance kick only to see the ball roll behind the dead ball line.

The Blues continued to push and their pressure paid off in the 11th minute when they were awarded a penalty which Sharp slotted between the uprights.

Ulster looked to respond quickly and Luke Marshall almost found a way through as he looked to latch onto a kick ahead, but the Blues defence was scrambled and the threat repelled.

The Blues continued to look for the opening try but some great interplay between O'Conor and Dean Adamson didn't get the reward it possibly deserved as the ball just ran out of play before the full-back could benefit.

On 21 minutes, Bedford finally got their reward when a darting run from scrum-half Burns started a brilliant move which resulted with O’Conor dotting down and Sharp adding the extras.

But Bedford’s joy was short-lived as Ulster, who had put Bristol to the sword 30-5 last weekend, notched up a try of their own. The Ulstermen had numbers on the right and utilised them with winger Rory Scholes touching down in the 24th minute but Windsor's conversion attempt drifted wide.

Leading 10-5, Bedford continued to show their attacking intent by opting to send a number of kickable penalties to touch rather than extend their lead further but they were left to rue the decision when they conceded a penalty and allowed Ulster off the ropes.

Those decisions proved even more costly when Ulster broke at pace in the 32nd minute and Jonny McPhillips was allowed to force his way over in the corner. This time Windsor added a superb conversion into a swirling breeze to inch his side ahead 10-12.

However, Bedford went into a deserved half time lead in stoppage time when Lundberg's lightning break set the Blues in motion. Joel Conlon made further yards before he put Burns into score with Sharp converting to make it 17-12 at the interval.

A bright start to the second half saw Sharp extend the Blues lead further as he slotted a second penalty of the afternoon. It could have been even better for the hosts though when Harry Wells broke through but the chance went begging at the last moment.

Ulster continued to knock at the door and Windsor kept his team in touching distance with two good penalties to make it 20-18 but he also missed another kickable attempt that would have put the visitors back in front after his pack had put in a ferocious effort at the scrum..

The missed chance proved costly as Bedford stretched their lead even further with a third try of the afternoon. Sharp spotted a gap behind the Ulster defence and put a perfect kick over the top which Jones then kicked on before grounding the ball with Sharp again adding the extra.

With a minute left Ulster's last chance vanished as Windsor sent a third-straight kick wide of the posts and some resolute defence saw the Blues home.

Bedford: Piers O'Conor (Steffan Jones 65), Dean Adamson, Michael Le Bourgeois, Ollie Dodge (Myles Dorrian 66), James Pritchard, Jake Sharp, Jordan Burns (Pete White 75), Alex Lunberg, Sam James (Charlie Clare 49), Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (Jack Culverhouse 62), Mike Howard (C, Mark Flanagan 55), Harry Wells, Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea, Joel Conlon (Nick Fenton-Wells 49).

Ulster: Jonny McPhillips, Rory Scholes, Sam Arnold, Luke Marshall, Robert Lyttle, Sam Windsor, David Shanahan (Paul Rowley 75), Andrew Warwick, John Andrew (Jonny Murphy 61), Jonny Simpson (Alan O'Connor 49), Lewis Stevenson (Bronson Ross 56), Peter Browne, Clive Ross, Willie Faloon, Sean Reidy.

Replacements not used: Ruaidhri Murphy, Stephen Mulhollan, Callum Patterson.

Referee: Craig Evans - WRU

Attendance: 2,303

Next Home Match

Friday 24th November
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
7.45pm

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Photography

See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at

frontrow.photium.com