MATCH REPORT & HIGHLIGHTS V LONDON WELSH

Bedford Blues put in one of their best performances of the season as they battered London Welsh 64-20 at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon and you can watch all of the highlights by clicking HERE.

Nine tries were scored by the Blues in this comprehensive victory but more pleasing for the Bedford coaches will have been the fact that it was the closest to a full 80 minute performance that there has been all season.

An impressive 2612 fans made their way to a cold and blustery Goldington Road and the wind had an impact in the opening exchanges as Bedford played up the slope. An early box kick came back behind the kicker and ended up costing the Blues a penalty which was put into touch but nothing came from the resulting attack. 

Bedford enjoyed some possession with Mark Flanagan and Josh Buggea working hard to gain territory but the Blues were penalised at the ruck and Ollie Barkley made no mistake as he gave the hosts the lead with a well struck penalty.

That lead didn’t last long though as Bedford crossed the whitewash for their first in the ninth minute. Tom Griffiths went on a dazzling run to carve the defence wide open before he handed over to Jordan Burns who darted across the line leaving sprawling defenders in his wake before Jake Sharp - who was making his 150th appearance - converted to make it 7-3.

Barkley narrowed the lead to a point with a well struck penalty before the Exiles went further ahead when Brendon Snyman ran down an attempted clearance kick from Burns and dived over the line to score with Barkley chipping over the conversion to make it 7-13.

It was to be the last time London Welsh led in the game as Bedford turned up the heat and dominated the game.

That domination was very apparent in the scrum as the Blues pack cut through their opponents like a hot knife through butter to penalty which went to touch. The lineout was a little long, and although captain Nick Fenton-Wells was on hand to gather the ball and set up an attack, the Exiles dealt with it well and cleared the ball. Bedford’s pack again set up an attack but this time the ball came to Sharp who delayed his pass for what seemed like an eternity, but was infact just a second or two, as Pat Tapley latched onto it and charged his way over from 30 metres out with Sharp converting once again.

The Blues next attack came from George Perkins who cut in from his wing and found space down the middle only to be hauled down in the 22. As Bedford tried to recycle the ball, a hand came in from Barkley and the referee had no hesitation but to send the former England international to the sin bin. Sharp took a shot at the uprights, but the wind pulled his attempt wide.

The miss didn’t matter too much though as Bedford extended their lead to 19-13 a few minutes later as Michael Le Bourgeois set the wheels in motion before Tapley hurtled toward the line but was stopped just short. Burns took the ball at the base of the ruck and burrowed his way over for an unconverted try although Sharp did add a penalty on the stroke of halftime to make it 22-13.

The second half was just three minutes old when Bedford crossed the line to secure the try bonus point. A Blues scrum set up an attack platform before the backs took over and with men out wide, the ball came the Le Bourgeois who span off a final tackle to score with Sharp hitting a great conversion to make it 29-13.

Another scrum in the 51st minute set up another try for the Blues. Once again, Bedford’s one to eight ran riot as they surged forward before the ball went down the line to Piers O’Conor who slide over with Sharp converting.

There wasn’t a lot for the travelling London Welsh fans to cheer, but they managed to put some good phases together midway through the half before a crossfield kick found former Blues Ben Pienaar in plenty of space and he jogged over with Barkley converting to make it 36-20.

But all that did was spur the Blues on and they ran in four tries in the final 20 minutes with the first coming as Pete White replaced the impressive Burns. White’s first job was to pick the ball up and run in under the posts with Sharp adding the extras.

Despite being 23 points ahead, Bedford didn’t want to concede any more and their defence was solid. Le Bourgeois put in an almighty tackle on Josh Drauniniu to repel the winger while Fenton-Wells, Buggea, Charlie Clare and Tom Williams were flying about the place putting in hits.

With ten minutes remaining Justin Blanchet forced his way over from close range before George Perkins scored almost immediately from the restart after Myles Dorrian converted. Fenton-Wells had made an excellent break and could arguably have carried on himself, but the unselfish skipper looked outside and popped the ball to the on-rushing winger who glided in under the posts with Dorrian once again converting.

The final try came courtesy of more excellent work by Le Bourgeois who showed a great turn of pace before playing in White who scored under the sticks with Dorrian adding another conversion to make it 64-20.

There were a lot of smiling faces around Goldington Road as Andrew Small blew the final whistle and the players rightfully accepted the applause and standing ovation from the happy crowd.

Bedford head off to Lady Bay next Sunday to face Nottingham in the Greene King IPA Championship.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!! 

See more of Nigel Rudgard's pictures HERE.

Next Home Match

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

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