Plymouth Albion v Bedford Blues

Saturday, 27 September, 2014 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Won 22-31

It is often said that good things come to those who wait and boy have the Bedford Blues players and coaches had to be patient, but hard work, grit and determination came to fruition on Saturday afternoon when Mike Rayer's men ran in four tries to beat Plymouth Albion 22-31 at Brickfields.

“Today we had a result without as good a performance as we would have liked, but we will certainly take that,” said Blues Backs Coach Paul Larkin. “We haven’t turned the corner, we are just on the way round it, and we have got a lot of hard work ahead of us.

“This is a young team, with a lot of inexperience at this level, and it is going to take time to totally gel, but we showed some composure at times today and got the scores, and we can be in a positive place now.

“If we can capitalise on poor kicking, which I think we did today, then we are able to expose teams in the wider channels, but the forwards did their bit as well. We showed great resilience in the scrummage at the end, and eventually the fourth try came from a very solid foundation.

“In terms of finishing off opportunities, we did so with quite a few of them, and we probably deserved the bonus point at the end.”

The Blues had been left frustrated at the result against London Scottish the previous weekend and it took just five minutes for them to take it out on the hosts in the West Country. A quick lineout ball made its way to Jake Sharp who spotted a gap and darted through before feeding Dean Adamson on the wing to score his second try in two games under the posts with James Pritchard adding the extras.

The dream start didn't last long though as the always resilient Albion replied with a well worked driving maul which saw lock Neale Patrick going over and Lawrence Rayner – a name well known to the Blues – levelling the scores with his conversion before adding a 27th minute penalty to make it 10-7.

Pritchard pulled things even with a simple penalty two minutes later before the hosts were reduced to 14 men when scrum half Josh Davies was shown a yellow card for killing the ball as Bedford pressed for a second try. The Blues took full advantage and the forwards piled on the pressure with a catch and drive maul which saw Paul Tupai dotting down and Pritchard converting to give the visitors a 10-17 half time lead. 

Rayner was proving a thorn in the side and he added two early penalties after the break to narrow the deficit to just a single point but Bedford were soon back in the saddle when the impressive Adamson was given too much room to gallop clear of the defence to score his second of the game. Pritchard converted once again and the Blues led 16-24.

But Plymouth, and particularly Rayner, refused to lie down and the youngster added two more penalties to take his tally to 17 and pull the score back to 22-24 with the game entering its final few moments.

However, it was to be Bedford who had the final say in matters as they set up camp in the Albion 22 looking for the first win of the season and the hope of snatching an important bonus point victory.

The pressure finally paid in the final play of the game. The forwards set up the platform and then the backs created an overlap for Pat Tapley to cross in the right-hand corner and Pritchard maintained his 100 per cent record from the boot with a well struck conversion.

The performance down in Plymouth will give the Bedford players a massive lift ahead of their game against Jersey next weekend when the Blues look to maintain the momentum and give their fans something to really shout about.




See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at