Bedford Blues put in a workman like performance to beat Nottingham 32-15 at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon and ensure that their name is in the hat for the quarter-final draw.

A try double for Dean Adamson along with one each for George Edgson and Ed Taylor secured the try bonus while Will Hooley kicked 12 points during a solid performance in miserable conditions.

Speaking after the game, prop Alex Penny said: “It was a good performance and a cracking effort form the whole 22 particularly when you consider the conditions this afternoon. We pulled together and got the job done in the end.

“We’ve played Nottingham so many times in the league and cup this season that we know each other really well which can make it tough, but we stuck to the plan and are delighted to get to the quart-finals particularly when you look at the pool we were in. We’re really proud of ourselves.”

Heading down the slope, the Blues had an early chance when they secured lineout ball and slowly went through a series of phases before Michael Le Bourgeois made a decent break to attack the Nott 22. The ball was quickly recycled before Hooley’s grubber kick rolled out of play before Adamson could latch onto it.

It was the visitors who took the lead though in the ninth minute after they were gifted possession as the Blues crossed at their own lineout. The ball went to touch five metres out and on the second attempt, Jordan Coghlan went over from close range for an unconverted score.

Bedford continued to enjoy the majority of possession and there was a magically piece of link up play between Lee Dickson, Will Hooley and Jarad Williams before Howard Packman crashed through to make yards. Sadly the move ended with a knock on but it set up a good position for the opening Blues try.

Having regathered possession thanks to hard work from Sean McCarthy, Alex Penny, Justin Blanchet and Alex Rae, and then winning a penalty following an offside, Hooley struck a fine kick deep into Nottingham's 22. The lineout drive was on but fell just short, so Dickson had a crack at the line but wasn't close enough but Taylor was on hand to burrow over. The ref discussed it with his assistant before awarding the try which Hooley converted.

A penalty for Eden gave Nottingham the lead again, but back came Bedford who continually looked to play their running brand of rugby. A spill from the Green and Whites allowed Packman to chip ahead with Le Bourgeois giving chase to keep pressure on the Nottingham defence who found touch. The lineout maul function before the ball was spread from side to side and getting nearer the line each phase before Edgson powered over for the score.

The Blues were enjoying plenty of possession and just before the interval they got a well-deserved third try. A huge driving maul powered forward and the referee had his arm out for the advantage. Williams came out with the ball and popped it to Dickson who fed Holley. The American fly half then sent a pinpoint kick across the field into the arms of Dean Adamson who manoeuvred himself perfectly to stop himself sliding into touch and ground the ball. Hooley then converted from the left wing to give the Blues a 19-8 half time lead.

The second half took some time to get into gear but when it did, the Blues were at the forefront once again. Scrappy opening exchanges were soon forgotten as the Blues secured the bonus point thanks to a wonderful Adamson score.

Packman, Chris Czekaj and Adamson had been involved with a wonderful piece of interplay along the right wing in the build-up, but it was the big boys who were finding field position. Jordan Onojaife, Will Carrick-Smith, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo and Dave Spelman were all in the think of it before opening the defence for attack. Le Bourgeois and Rich Lane were on hand, but when Adamson got the ball he hurtled through before side-stepping Sinoti Sinoti-style to score beside the posts and Hooley converted.

Hooley added a 61st minute penalty to put more daylight between the two teams, but Nottingham fought back with a well-worked try of their own which was finished by former Blue Vili Hakalo and converted by Bristol-bound Eden to make it 29-15.

Bedford were solid in defence though as Jacob Fields put in a huge smash in midfield to disrupt a Nottingham attack and Josh Buggea did much of the same as the clock ticked down.

Hooley added a late penalty and then it was backs to the wall as Nottingham went for a consolation. Josh Poullet thought he’d scored it after going over after breaking off from the back of a scrum, but the ref called it back for a reset as he had got in the way of the defence and the game soon fizzled out.

Bedford return to action against Bristol in the Greene King IPA Championship next weekend.


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