James Pritchard’s Testimonial Match kicks off this Friday 8th May, as a Bedford Blues select XV will be taking on Skippy’s Invitational XV for a special event to honour his commitment to the club (Kick Off 7:30pm).

With many former Blues’ stars returning to Goldington Road, Bedford supporters are sure to be treated to a spectacular game of rugby in aid of Bedford’s favourite import.

Gracing the pitch once again in the Bedford ranks are prolific wingers Chris Bajak and James Hinkins following more than ten years away from the club with Liam Roberts returning in the centre. The forward pack sees Dan Seal, Sam Walsh, Chris Locke, Sacha Harding and Darren Fox back in a Blues shirt after just a short break away from Goldington Road. Joining them are current first team players Nick Fenton-Wells, Jake Sharp, Ollie Dodge, Darryl Veenendaal, Ben Gulliver, Mike Howard and the main man James Pritchard. Names amongst the replacements is evergreen Paul Tupai, the current second-row actually pips many of the former players on age as well as fitness, the Samoan is joined on the bench by former players Simon Lincoln, Liam Lancaster and 2005 Blues Cup winning captain Matt Allen.

The invitational opposition also sees a long list of former Bedford players named with Defence Coach Ian Vass, Plymouth’s Mark Kohler, the experienced OA’s lock Jon Phillips, Academy Coach Richard Candlin and Saracens’ Academy Coach Don Barrell all in the starting line-up. Whilst former player and Pritchard’s business partner Jon Wells takes a seat amongst the subs.

Another Goldington Road favourite to keep your eye on will wear the opposing 15 shirt to Skippy, in the shape of full-back Emyr Lewis.  Bringing an international edge to the match is Pritchard’s sole Canadian teammate and Doncaster lock forward Tyler Hotson who starts in the boilerhouse. Former Blues player, ex Plymouth coach and now OAs boss’ James Shanahan starts at centre partnered by Andrew Llewellyn. Other invited players include former Blues’ Laurence White, Lee Anker, Andy Phillips, Gavin Denning, Michael Ormesher, James Ross, Matt Price, Paul Rollason, Gavin Williams and Neil Harris.

One star name to watch in the invitational XV has to be England Women’s scrum-half and wife of Blues Ben Gulliver, Georgia Gulliver, expect her to test Veenendaal and Sharp throughout the evening.

Tickets and entrance for Pritchard’s Testimonial Match are only available on the gate come match day with adults entry priced at just a £10 donation and Under 16s going free. Gates open at 6pm allowing supporters plenty of time to make their way to the bars around the ground and sample the entertainment before the match kicks off at 7:30pm. The Scrum Bar will be closed on the evening with all entertainment taking place in the Blues Marquee.

This family evening in aid of Bedford’s favourite Australian’ Canadian international will host a Junior Blues rugby exhibition, bouncy castle and activities for the kids as well as plenty of auctions and raffles, including a lucky door prize to keep everyone entertained.

Originally from Parkes in Australia, Pritchard started his sporting career in Rugby League before switching codes, and continents, to join Bedford Blues in 2001. After his mini tour around the UK and France, ‘Skippy’ returned to Bedford in 2006 and has made the town his home.

Pritchard's successes on the field are clear for all to see and last season he overtook Andy Finnie as the Blues all-time leading point scorer. This achievement was coupled with the international equivalent when he surpassed Gareth Rees’s record of 491 to become Canada’s leading point scorer. Later this year, Pritchard will again mark the pinnacle of his career by appearing in his fourth Rugby World Cup.

To listen to a full interview with James Pritchard talking about his Testimonial year and the upcoming match simply visit

A percentage of proceeds from the event will be donated to Pritchard’s charity of choice the NSPCC.

Bedford Blues Select XV

15. James Pritchard, 14. Chris Bajak, 13. Liam Roberts, 12. Ollie Dodge, 11. James Hinkins, 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Darryl Veenendaal, 1. Dan Seal, 2. Chris Locke, 3. Sam Walsh, 4. Ben Gulliver, 5. Mike Howard, 6. Sacha Harding, 7. Darren Fox, 8. Nick Fenton-Wells.

Replacements: 16. Paul Tupai, 17. Simon Lincoln, 18. Matt Allen, 19. Liam Lancaster, 20. TBC, 21. TBC, 22. TBC.

Skippy's Invitational XV

15. Emyr Lewis, 14. Mark Kohler, 13. Andrew Llewellyn, 12. James Shanahan, 11. Lee Anker, 10. Ian Vass, 9. Georgia Gulliver, 1. James Ross, 2. Matt Price, 3. Michael Ormesher, 4. Tyler Hotson, 5. Jon Phillips, 6. Richard Candlin, 7. Laurence White, 8. Don Barrel.

Replacements: 16. Neil Harris, 17. Gavin Denning, 18. Andy Phillips, 19. Jon Wells, 20. Gavin Williams, 21. Paul Rollason, 22. TBC.