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Oxford University U21 vs Bedford Blues Academy
The Blues Academy beat Oxford University Under 21 XV by 24pts - 19 at Iffley Road. Ahead by 24pts - 0 at half time the Blues let the students back into the game in the 2nd half but managed to hold on for a 24pts - 19 win in a much improved performance.
Pressure was on the Blues after a disappointing result against St Joe's on Wednesday night. They came out positively from the first whistle and quickly turned over possession from a Bedford kick off. After well structured play and good decision making, flanker Kennet O'Neill straightened the line well to go over the line untouched. Fly-half Cameron Gregory-Ring converted. Flanker Reece Lane scored Bedford's second try from the back of a driving lineout after Oxford conceded a penalty for holding on. This time the conversion wasn't successful. Oxford started to apply pressure and got close to scoring. However, a long clearance kick by Gregory-Ring was followed by a hard chase leading to a Bedford penalty. The ball was kicked into the corner and Bedford set up another effective driving maul, this time finished off by prop Josh Pierterse. The conversion was from the same place as the last but this time Gregory-Ring made no mistake. Bedford's fourth try came from some excellent individual work by centre Freddie Henley-Hunter. After stripping the ball off an Oxford player on half way he showed good footwork to beat three opposition players and then rounded to full back to score an unconverted try to put thelues ahead by 24pts - 0 at half time.
The tables were turned in the second half. Oxford found their form and applied a lot more pressure. They reduced the number of handling errors, carried the ball well and put real pressure on the Bedford defence. Their continued pressure lead to three unanswered tries of which two were converted. However, a tired Bedford team held their nerve to close out a tight final ten minutes of play for a deserved 24pts - 19 win.
Blues Head Coach James Hinkins said, ... "There were plenty of positives to take from the game, particularly with the first half performance. Bedford played some good phases of rugby, they created opportunities and made some good decisions. The boys showed real desire and managed to close out a game where their heads could have easily dropped."
Bedford: Josh Pierterse, Josh Taylor, Connor Adams, Matt Norfolk-|Clarke, |Callum Austen, BRadley Scharff, Reece Lane, Kennett O'Neill (capt); Kieran Duffin, Cameron Gregory-Ring; Eric Edwin, George Elliott, Freddie Henley-Hunter, Luke Hibberd; Dylan van Dieman: Subs: Bradley Dunkerley, Josh Smith, Kieran Frost, Keano van Dieman: