MATCH REPORT V LONDON WELSH

Bedford Blues put in an almighty shift at Old Deer Park on Saturday afternoon but left South West London with just a losing bonus point after a 30-24 defeat to London Welsh.

Two tries from the impressive George Perkins and one for the evergreen Paul Tupai - who was making his 200th Blues appearance - kept Bedford in touch, but three first half tries had already done the damage.

Bedford started brightly and thought they were over in the opening minutes when Tupai was bundled across the line from a driving maul following a lineout. The ref said he was held up but was playing an advantage. The penalty went to touch but the lineout didn't find its man and The Exiles cleared.

It proved to be costly for the Blues as the hosts took the lead in the seventh minute. A surging run from Guy Armitage took the ball deep into Bedford territory before it went along the line to Nic Reynolds who scored in the corner. Joe Carlisle sliced the conversion attempt wide.

London Welsh then doubled their lead after the Blues spiller lineout ball. Carlisle made a break and as stopped short of the line only for Armitage to pick up and dot down. Carlisle converted to make it 12-0 but Myles Dorrian pulled three points back with a penalty after Dan Leo was caught offside.

The revival was short lived though as the Exiles crossed for a third try in the 19th minute. A penalty found touch in Bedford's 22 before Darren Waters was driven over for the score with Carlisle again converting.

The large contingent of Blues fans may have feared the worse but Bedford responded well and started to cut out the mistakes. The Blues scrum put in a huge effort throughout and won several penalties which allowed the Blues to gain valuable possession and reduce the Exiles running game.

A deserved breakthrough came in the 26th minute when Tupai claimed a score. A penalty went deep, the lineout found its man and the maul rumbled forward with Toops coming up with the ball but Dorrian couldn't convert.

London Welsh added a penalty to make it 22-8 but Bedford replied just before the interval. Bedford secured lineout ball before Dorrian threw a superb pass to Henry Staff who offloaded to Perkins who had plenty to do to beat the final defender before crossing for an unconverted try.

London Welsh went in search of a fourth try before the break but Bedford held firm before turning the ball over and going on the attack themselves. Sadly, the ref spotted crossing and the half ended 22-13.

The message at half time worked and Bedford added a quick penalty before Perkins got his second try of the afternoon. A penalty went to touch, Josh Buggea collected the pass and then another long pass found its mark before Perkins pace carried him home but the conversion went wide.

At 22-21, the Blues were happily back in this but the former Premiership side took hold of the game and crossed for their fourth try. It came via another lineout and another charging maul, this time with Ryan Hodson scoring to make it 27-21 in the 53rd minute.

Bedford knew they needed a response and took every chance to run. Piers O'Conor, Pat Tapley and Henry Staff all linked up well while Camilo Parilli-Ocampo was constantly on hand to be the first receiver and put his body on the line.

London Welsh soaked up the pressure and looked to exploit turnover ball but Bedford were just resilient in defence and wouldn't give an inch. Carlisle was given a kick able penalty and he made no mistake as he stretched the hosts lead to 30-21.

Bedford weren't to be outdone though and they kept on coming with O'Conor, Steffan Jones and Perkins all linking up well along the left wing before offloading to Tupai who was bundled into touch. 

The Blues were enjoying plenty of ball but they were turned over in the Welsh 22 and the hosts looked to break clear only to commit a crossing offence of their own. Bedford's fans wanted a kick to the corner, but the Blues pointed to the posts and Jake Sharp converted to be in bonus point territory.

There was still time for a flurry at the end of the game and Perkins kept the pressure on the Welsh defence which resulted in a sliced kick giving Bedford an attacking lineout. The Blues went through the phases and inched towards the hosts try line only to lose the ball which was then punted into touch by the Exiles to secure the 30-24 victory.

While the Blues will be left disappointed to lose, no one can dispute that they put in a huge effort and could easily have pinched the win.

A big week awaits before Nottingham come to Goldington Road next weekend for what should be another cracking afternoon of Championship rugby.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

You can see more of Nigel Rudgard's pictures HERE

You can watch all the tries from the game by clicking HERE

Next Home Match

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

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