Bedford Blues pre-season campaign has got underway with the players being put through their paces by Head of Strength & Conditioning Jamie Bain and his team.

After a relaxing six weeks off, the Blues players met up at Goldington Road on Monday morning for official introductions and the beginning of eight weeks of training before the first pre-season fixture against Plymouth Albion on Friday 10th August at Brickfields.

Following the first few days of pre-season training, Bain said: "The lads have come back in really good shape and I'm happy with the conditioning following a six week lay-off. We've got a lot of work to do in the coming two months to make sure we are at our absolute physical best when we head down to Devon.

"I also want to say a big thank you to Bedford Modern School, Fusion at Bedford Athletics Stadium and Core Performance Crossfit who have been helping us out by allowing us to use their facilities. It's great that the town can come together as part of the Blues Family."

While pre-season did mean a welcome back to the squad along with some new (and old) faces, there were also some absentees with the most notable being centre Ollie Dodge who has hung up his boots after a stellar career with the Blues.

Dodge, 30, had been a member of the Blues squad since joining on loan from Leicester Tigers in 2006 before making a permanent move to the club in 2008. He represented England at Under 19 and Under 20 levels, following in the footsteps of his England international father Paul Dodge. Dodge made a total of 224 appearances for the Blues scoring 58 tries in the process.

Speaking about Dodge's departure, Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: "Ollie has been an absolutely brilliant player for Bedford Blues over the years and we cannot thank him enough for all of his efforts on the pitch. He's embodied all what’s good about this rugby club during his time here and we are desperately sad to see him leave. He’s made the decision to retire on his own terms and as a club we massively respect that. We all wish him and his family a very successful next chapter in the lives"

Also leaving Goldington Road this summer are Ben Adams, Dave Spelman and Elliot Clements-Hill as well as Academy players Ben Kellend and Matt Riddington.

Next Home Match

Saturday 27th April
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road