Neath v Bedford Blues

Saturday, 8 December, 2012 - 14:30
1st XV
Won 12-62

Bedford Blues look favourites to qualify for the knock-out stages of the British and Irish Cup after a dominant win over Neath on Saturday.

The Blues took the lead in the second minute after James Pritchard kicked a 40 metre penalty when Neath were penalised for offside.

Aaron Bramwell had the chance to level things four minutes later but his long range penalty kick went short and wide.

Those were the only penalty attempts of the game. After that, free flowing open rugby was the order of the day, mainly from the exciting away side.

Bedford took control and increased their lead on 12 minutes thanks to superb move that ripped the Neath defence apart. Ben Gulliver, laid the ball off nicely to Scott Spurling who in turn fed Josh Bassett to run home. Pritchard converted.

Reece had a try chalked off for a forward pass but it was his former Scorpions team mate, Kevin James, who finally scored for the home side on 24 minutes and it was all the least they deserved after constant pressure.

From a scrum, Matthew Rees and Morgans set up the opportunity, and James used his speed and strength to power through. Bramwell converted.

But three Blues tries just before the interval effectively gave them control of the game.

James Stephenson and Pritchard scored consecutive tries in the same right hand corner, Pritchard converting the second, before Bassett broke through the centre for a fine try that Pritchard goaled to give Bedford a 29-7 lead and a valuable bonus point.

They then took just three minutes to get on the board in the second half. Stephenson broke through the back-line and grounded under the sticks with Pritchard converting.

Scott Spurling increased the Blues lead with a try from a rolling maul five minutes later which Pritchard again converted.

Neath hit back on 55 minutes when Morgans set up James to dive home for his second try of the match.

But Bedford finished well with three fine tries in the last 15 minutes.

Bassett romped through for his third and Bedford’s seventh on 65 minutes which Pritchard goaled.

Then Ali Price set up Mark Kohler to score in the corner which Pritchard converted.

And finally, a Pritchard try in the corner, unconverted after a casual attempt from Atkinson after the final whistle, completed the rout.

Neath: 15 Aaron Bramwell; 14 Kevin James, 13 Ryan Evans, 12 John Leyshon, 11 Lewis Reece, 10 Kyle Davies 9 Chris Morgans; 1 Nicky Downs (captain), 2 Rhodri Clancy, 3 Marc Jones; 4 Rhys Jones, 5 Jonny Griffiths, 6 Leon Ward, 7 Matthew Rees, 8 Steffan Jones.

Replacements: 16 Tom Price, 17 Alun Wyn Davies, 18 Owain Ford, 19 Tom Davies, 20 Simon Pengelly, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Lloyd Phillips

Scorers. Tries: James (24, 55). Cons: Bramwell (24)

Bedford: 15 James Pritchard (captain); 14 James Stephenson, 13 Mark Atkinson, 12 Ian Vass, 11 Josh Bassett; 10 Jake Sharp, 9 Darryl Veenendaal; 1 Darren Fearn, 2 Scott Spurling, 3 Dan Seal; 4 Mike Howard, 5 Ben Gulliver; 6 Alex Rae, 7 Darren Fox, 8 Joe Vandermolen.

Replacements: 16 Chris Locke, 17 Ben Cooper, 18 Greg Gillanders, 19 Tom Armes, 20 Ali Price, 21 Brendan Burke, 22 Mark Kohler

Scorers. Tries: Bassett (12, 40, 65), Stephenson (27, 43), Pritchard (38, 79), Spurling (48), Kohler (69). Cons: Pritchard (12, 38, 40, 43, 48, 65, 69). Pens: Pritchard (3)

Referee: Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)

Next Home Match

Saturday 28th April
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at