Eastern Counties U20 v Bedford Academy
The Blues Academy lost to the Eastern Counties Under 20 XV, at Thetford, by 25pts – 19. In a game played in 3 x 25 minute periods the Blues were 10-0 down at the end of the first period; they fought back to 13-12 down at the end of the second period, before losing by 25-19 at full time.
Bedford started well with possession and territory but, after kicking good possession away, they allowed Eastern Counties to break away to go 5pts ahead after 15 minutes. Poor kicking from the Blues, with a missed touch clearance, led to an attacking scrum from Eastern Counties, which led to their second try and a 10pts - 0 lead at the end of the first period.
The Blues upped their game in the second period and narrowed the gap with a good try from flanker OIllie Walker. Counties hit back with a penalty before Walker made a good break and fed second row Matt Norfolk-Clarke for a try under the posts; fly half Cameron Gregory-Ring converted and the Blues ended the second period 13-12 behind.
Counties increased the tempo in the third period and scored two breakaway tries in the first five minutes to go 25-12 ahead, before prop Josh Pierterse scored after a period of Bedford pressure, Gregory-Ring converted and the Blues were 25-19 behind. Further pressure from Bedford was held by Eastern Counties to allow them to end as deserved winners by 25-19.
Blues Academy Coach Alan Brown said ... "We looked a bit rusty after the Christmas break and the five week gap since our last game, but it was a good performance considering the number of changes we made during the game. We did not manage the game well and missed touch kicks, and too many basic errors, cost us dearly, in terms of field position and poossesion. Eastern Counties were together for their first game, they had some quality players, and they deserved the victory. There were positives in how we raised our game in the second period, when we competed well, and we saw improvements as the game progressed against a physical side."
Bedford: Will Dyer, Josh Taylor, Connor Adams, Matt Norfolk-Clarke, Ben Patterson, Brad Scharff, Reece Lane, Joss Morgan; Ben Calder (capt), Scott Lyle; George Elliott, Michael Phillips, Dan Hope, Luke Hibberd; Cameron Gregory-Ring: Replacements: Josh Pieterse, Ben Ibrahim, Ollie Dancer, James Parsons, Callum Austen, Kennet O’Neill, Ollie Walker, Kieran Duffin, Charlie Reed, Harry Chater: