London Scottish v Bedford Blues

Saturday, 20 September, 2014 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 36-30

Bedford Blues slipped to a third successive defeat but claimed their first two points of the Championship campaign with two late scores, while a controversial disallowed third gave those of a Scottish persuasion a second nervous wait in two days over the outcome of all matters union, writes James Cunliffe.

This was a top-versus-bottom clash of the rugby variety that, in the first half, looked to be following the form book with Blues rock bottom of the league and pointless prior to kick-off, while Scottish, who had taken maximum points in their first two outings, claimed a bonus point by the half time interval.

The visitors could not cope with the power of their hosts’ bulldozing maul - a tactic applied with regularity; accounting for three of their four first half tries.

Down in the dumps at half time, 26-13 behind, the second period saw Blues notch three scores through Dean Adamson, Michael Le Bourgeois and Pat Tapley, to add to James Pritchard’s first half effort, while Paul Tupai looked to have grabbed a match-winner at the death. Referee Dean Richards disagreed.

Those were the positives but a slow start gifted the league leaders a first half to savour. Six minutes in, the marauding Matt Williams gathered in Daniel Newton’s cross-field kick and galloped between the posts while Peter Lydon added the extras.

Pritchard made small amends with a penalty soon after but the Exiles roared straight back from the restart with PJ Gidlow bustling over. Lydon again converted.

An increasing penalty count was costing Blues but then, midway through the first half, Pritchard touched down after a break and assist from Steffan Jones and Henry Staff respectively. The Canadian international converted his own score but his side had little time to bask in their breakthrough before Exiles skipper Mark Bright flopped onto the whitewash after another monstrous maul. Lydon made it 21-10 lead.

Pritchard led a one-man point-scoring mission to keep Blues within reach of the Londoners during the first half and he landed a penalty at the second time of asking to close the deficit to eight points, but every time the Scottish response was swift.

On the stroke of half time their pack caused chaos at a Blues scrum, five metres from their own line, with Jamie Stevenson just about stretching for the paint. This time Lydon blotted his copybook with the conversion but the inquests were Bedford’s alone at the break.

Whatever was said paid instant dividends as, two minutes in; Pritchard raced clear and unselfishly set Adamson on his way to a gleeful dive between the uprights. The orchestrator of the score sent the conversion kick the same way but, yet again, Blues straight away conceded three penalty points to Lydon.

Blues were forced in to last-ditch defending and Wells was sent to the bin as they tried to counteract London’s lineout drive. Stevenson scored his second from the resulting set-piece throw-in, while Lydon landed a tricky kick, out wide.

There was still fight in the Blues though and Le Bourgeois scored, gobbling up a cross-kick from Jake Sharp who then skewed the conversion wide but Tapley made it a quick-fire double for Bedford, racing up the wing. 

Again Sharp couldn’t bisect the posts but they thought they’d scored a crucial try with two minutes remaining when Tupai had been forced over the line. Referee Richards, however, ruled the ball had not been grounded, while the follow-up phase saw Harry Wells knock-on, inches from the post.

While the chance for last-gasp glory went up in smoke, the improvement from this Bedford side, after their dire start to the season, was clear to see. 

For more match day pictures from Nigel Rudgard click here

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

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