Bedford Blues v Worcester Warriors

Saturday, 21 February, 2015 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 17-32

There are numerous sporting clichés that should never be used in a match report – always play to the whistle, don’t talk back to the referee, they’re in a league of their own  - but on Saturday afternoon the ugliest one of all reared its head. This truly was a ‘game of two halves’...

If Mr Foley hadn’t blown his whistle after 40 minutes then it could have been an extremely good day to be at Goldington Road. Viliami Hakalo had scored one try and set up a second while James  Pritchard converted both and Jake Sharp dropped a goal – not bad being 17-0 up against the league leaders.

Sadly, the second 40 minutes didn’t follow the first and the former Premiership side rocketed back into the game and scored four tries to claim victory 17-32. 

Darn you half-time!

The early exchanges looked like Worcester would have the upper hand, but Sharp coolly slotted a drop goal in the 6th minute to help Goldington Road find its voice. The Warriors continued to push but the Blues defence was awesome with Mike Howard, Nick Fenton-Wells and Joe Vandermolen throwing themselves into every tackle. 

Bedford were also dominating the scrum in the opening half and the Blues picked up numerous penalties. Midway through the half, Worcester were looking to open up the Blues defence, but when Ryan Mills looked to send a speedy pass out wide, Hakalo judged it perfectly and galloped clear of the defence to score under the posts with Pritchard adding the extras.

The visitors went straight on the attack but once again the Blues defence worked tirelessly to repel them while also continuing to frustrate the Warriors at the scrum. 

Worcester looked to build some territory in the 30th minute but for the second time in the afternoon, Hakalo premeditated the pass, nipped in and snaffled the ball away before popping it to Tapley to let the speedster hurtle himself over the line. Pritchard converted from the far left and the Blues were 17-0 up.

The Warriors went on the attack looking for a way back into the game before half time but Bedford weren’t going to let points slip ahead of the break. Pritchard and Henry Staff combined perfectly to bundle Sam Smith into touch and soon after the whistle went and the occupants of the Eagle Stand rose to their feet to applaud their team from the field.

The second half was only minutes old when Worcester hit back. The restart was carried over the Blues try line giving the visitors a scrum which saw GJ Van Velze peel away and feed Jonny Arr who found Smith on wing to score.

The Warriors should have scored again moments later but as they broke clear, a knock on ended the move and Bedford could breathe a sigh of relief. Andy Symons slotted a 50th minute penalty before following it up with another six minutes later to make the score 17-11.

Worcester were reduced to 14 men in the 64th minute when the referee took exception to something at the scrum and prop Nick Schonert was carded. Despite being down by one, the Warriors sent a penalty to touch on Bedford’s five metre line and from the resulting lineout, replacement Paul Tupai was carded for bringing down the maul.

At 14-a-side and with the penalty, Worcester went to touch but Bedford pinched it and cleared. A lineout followed and Worcester had men over, but inexplicably crossed in front of the ref allowing Bedford the chance to clear their line. 

Bedford couldn’t hold on much longer and the visitors nosed themselves ahead in the 73rd minute. The Blues had a scrum just outside their 22 but they were forced off the ball and Ryan Mills collected, sidestepped and crossed under the sticks giving Symons an easy conversion.

Back to a full complement the Warriors stretched their legs, and the score line. Sam Betty was carrying the ball when the forwards trundled over the line in the 76th minute following a lineout in Bedford’s 22 and then in stoppage time, Tom Biggs benefitted from spilt Blues ball to score on the left wing. Symons converted both and Worcester completed their comeback.

The Blues will no doubt be disappointed not to have taken anything from this game but they now have two weeks to prepare for the always tough trip to Yorkshire Carnegie.
 
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

 

 

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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