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MATCH REPORT LLANELLI V BEDFORD BLUES
A bad day at the office for Bedford saw them lose their crucial British & Irish Cup Pool Three clash 44-15 at Llanelli as the home side put seven tries past the Blues.
Bedford looked good for the first 10 minutes at the impressive Parc y Scarlet, but were ultimately let down by sloppy ball control as they crashed out of the competition. Llanelli kicked off and Bedford got off to a great start as they stole the first lineout. Corey Hircock stopped a break from Steff Hughes and Michael Le Bourgeois looked firm with his tackling.
Gregor Gillanders was fouled in kicking for territory as Bedford threw some phases together. And the visitors took the lead when James Pritchard kicked them ahead with a penalty.
Llanelli’s Carwyn Jones then fumbled as Matt Hankin intercepted, but butter fingers let the Blues down as he tried to feed Phil Boulton. Bedford won another penalty on halfway, but despite Pritchard’s best efforts his kick was just left of the sticks.
From there on in the hosts dominated the first half as they stepped it up a gear.
Llanelli drove well in the corner and got their first try through Wyn Jones, although Josh Lewis missed the conversion. Then, from a spun scrum, the ball found its way into Ed Price’s hands and he dived over, with Lewis kicking the extras to make it 12-3.
Hankin and Tom Jubb linked up in reply to go close for Bedford as Llanelli intercepted and, although the Blues pressed in the corner, the home side cleared.
A great take from Adam Warren kick-started a move for the home side and little pop passes eventually led to Craig Price feeding Hughes to score.
And right before the break Llanelli’s Lewis scored a fine individual effort, dinking the ball past the Blues defence and chasing through to touch down, before embellished his work with the conversion to make it 24-3 at the break.
The Blues tried to mix it up in the second half as Joe Vandermolen and Scott Spurling replaced Nick Fenton-Wells and Charlie Clare.
Mike Howard and Jubb knocked on the Llanelli door as Bedford kicked a penalty to the corner, but Neville Edwards knocked on as the Blues tried to put some passes together.
The hosts won another penalty at a scrum as Lewis stretch the Welsh side’s lead with his kick.
Mark Atkinson then fumbled an attack as Craig Price and Dan Thomas linked well for confident Llanelli who looked certain to score with lots of bodies over, but a bad pass let them down.
Bedford’s luck changed as Dan Thomas was yellow-card for going off his feet, and a minute later, Jones impeded in the lineout and was also sin-binned.
Blues looked to make their two-man advantage count as a Blues maul made 10 yards, with Spurling touching down and Jake Sharp converted to make it 27-10.
However, it was too little too late as Llanelli proceeded to ram home their advantage.
Craig Price made 10 yards with a strong drive for the home side with 10 minutes to play. Lewis then broke clear and sent a wicked ball out to Aaron Warren to cross the whitewash.
Le Bourgeois gave the travelling Blues fans something to cheer when finished well after breaking clear, but Sharp couldn’t convert from a difficult angle.
Fresh legs for Llanelli helped them end the match in style as Kyle Evans found a gap down the left and scored with ease as Dion Jones added the extras.
And Llanelli underlined their dominance as as Warren scored his second to seal an impressive 44-15 victory.
The result means they cannot progress in the competition when they entertain Rotherham in the final pool three match this weekend but, if they defy the top of the table Yorkshire side any points and Llanelli thrash Connacht, the Welsh side could still come up trumps.
Llanelli: Wyn Jones (Ryan Elias 77), Darran Harris (Gareth Thomas 77), Horatiu Pungea (Ben Leung 57), Carwyn Jones, Lewis Rawlins (Llewelyn Jones 50), Craig Price, Dan Thomas, Ed Price, Aled Davies (Rhodri Davies 77), Josh Lewis (Dan Jones 73), Kyle Evans, Adam Warren, Steff Hughes (Dylan Morgans 77), Aaron Warren (C), Dion Jones. T: Wyn Jones, Ed Price, Hughes, Lewis, Aaron Warren 2, Evans. P: Lewis. C: Lewis 3, Dion Jones.
Blues: Darren Fearn (Nico Steenkamp 52), Charlie Clare (Scott Spurling 40), Phil Boulton (Tomas Gilardon Paz 67), Mike Howard (Eoin Sheriff 60), Tom Jubb, Gregor Gillanders, Matt Hankin, Nick Fenton-Wells (Joe Vandermolen 40), Darryl Veenendaal, Mark Atkinson, Aaron Morris (Harry Peck 60), Michael Le Bourgeois, Corey Hircock, Neville Edwards, James Pritchard (C, Jake Sharp, 21). T: Spurling, Le Bourgeois. P: Pritchard. C: Sharp.
Referee: Sean Gallagher.
Assistant Referees: Peter Evans and Matthew Thomas.