MATCH REPORT V LONDON IRISH

It was to be Madejski Stadium heartache again for the Blues on Sunday afternoon as they went down 21-13 to London Irish in the Championship Cup.

A close first half followed by an even tighter second exploded in the final ten minutes as the Blues crossed to make it a one point game only to concede a try almost from the restart which put the Exiles out of reach with time ticking away.

Bedford got off to the best possible start when Pat Tapley was on the end of a flying move from the backs to score his second try in as many games with barely two minutes on the clock.

But the visitors fired back when a penalty was sent to touch in the Blues 22 and the driving maul got up a head of steam with Oli Hoskins grounding the ball and Stephen Myler converting it to make it 7-5.

The Blues kept up the pressure and made good use of possession but a turnover in the Irish 22 stopped any potential attack and allowed the hosts the chance to clear.

The Exiles turn had another attacking lineout in the 14th minute but the Blues defence did well to hold up the player before turning over the scrum on their own five metre line.

London Irish continued to put pressure on the Blues and they overpowered the Blues scrum with Scott Steele darting over to score his sides second of the afternoon which Myler converted.

Things could have got worse for the Blues when a loose pass went straight to Ollie Hassell-Collins who ran half the length of the pitch before a great defensive tackle forced a knock on.

Bedford were enjoying plenty of the ball as the half progressed but they just couldn’t find the end product. A smart chip over the top forced Irish to take the ball into touch and then a penalty followed which Lewis Robling converted to make 14-8.

The Exiles finished the half on top with a strong foray into the Blues 22 but a forward pass let Bedford off the hook before another loose pass almost allowed Terrence Hepetema but the centre turned over andthe ball sent to safety.

Some big hits in the opening exchanges of the second half truly set the scene for the second half with neither team budging an inch. Irish stole lineout ball early on before being penalised for an obstruction. Bedford wnet to touch but were driven back and then coughed up a scrum to the delighted Irish pack.

Bedford’s defence was well and truly put under the microscope as wave upon wave of attacks were launched by the hosts but the Blues stood firm and weren’t breached.

The game then changed direction as Bedford launched an offensive onslaught which saw them pick up a penalty and fire it to touch in the Exiles 22. Unfortunately, the ball was knocked on at the lineout and Irish cleared their lines.

Momentum swung back in Irish’s favour with Myler making a good break only for his offload close to the Blues line being deemed forward.

But it was Bedford who broke the deadlock in the second half as a big forward push saw replacement Huw Worthington going over to make it 14-13 as the conversion went wide.

Irish’s response was immediate as the Blues were guilty of taking their eye off the ball. After regaining possession, Myler orchestrated the move which saw winger Ben Loader scoring and the fly half adding the extras with seven minutes remaining.

Bedford went in search of a losing bonus point and found territory as Irish were pinged for a high tackle and the ball punted to touch. A strong maul was brought down by Blair Cowan who was carded but then the Blues were turned over as they drove for the line and Irish saw out the game.

London Irish: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 13 Matt Williams, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Matt Rogerson, 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris, 6 Max Northcote-Green, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Barney Maddison ©, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi.

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Lovejoy Chawatama, 18 Josh McNally, 19 Blair Cowan, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Jacob Atkins, 22 Fergus Mulchrone

Bedford Blues: 15. Rich Lane, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Ed Coulson, 12. Chris Czekaj, 11. Ryan Hutler, 10. Lewis Robling, 9. Alex Gliksten, 1. Sean McCarthy, 2. Charlie Clare, 3. Alex Penny, 4. Ed Taylor (c), 5. Mark Flanagan, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Josh Buggea, 8. Jarad Williams

Replacements: 16. Tadgh McElroy, 17. Hayden King, 18. Ben Cooper, 19. Oli Curry, 20. Huw Worthington, 21. Lee Dickson, 22. Harry Davies

Attendance: 1815

Next Home Match

Wednesday 26th December
1st XV
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

Partners