MATCH REPORT V LONDON SCOTTISH

Madness, madness, they call it madness… And that's exactly what it was on Saturday afternoon as Bedford Blues drew at London Scottish 52-52.

While there will be plenty of attacking plaudits, the Blues were left bitterly disappointed with their defensive display which shipped seven tries over the course of the afternoon.

“I've never played in a game like this,” said Blues player coach Lee Dickson after the final whistle. “You can't expect to win a game of rugby conceding 52 points. Credit to the boys for coming back into it and getting that penalty try at the end, but we've got to take a long hard look at ourselves as defensively we were appalling today.

“I don't know where it has come from following two good defensive displays against Munster to this was very disappointing. We've got Ealing next week and we’ve got to look to that. They put us to the sword down there earlier in the season and taught us a lesson. Pride will be at stake and we need to be spot on defensively.”

To say the first half was played at pace would be the understatement of the year. It was all about attack with, seemingly, very little emphasis on defence as the opening try came for the hosts in the second minute. A turnover allowed Alex Walker and Jake Sharp to combine before Ben Mosses and Tjiuee Uanivi wrapped the ball up for Ross Neal and Sharp converted.

Two minutes later and it was 7-5 as Lee Dickson spotted space and took a quick penalty to run clear before he popped the ball to the supporting Michael Le Bourgeois and he released Matt Gallagher to cross the whitewash.

Back up the other end and the Blues failure to tackle allowed Mosses to play in Charles Ingall for a try before spilling a box kick led to the Exiles third ball was recycled to Matt Williams who acrobatically went over. Sharp converted both scores to make it 21-5.

But back came Bedford. Patient build up involving Josh Buggea, Ed Taylor, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo and Will Carrick-Smith resulted in Jarad Williams crashing over and Hooley converting.

Hooley had a simple conversion two minutes later when a Scottish kick cannoned one of their own men and Gallagher ran under the posts for his second. 

In the 19th minute, Bedford took the lead when a lineout in the Scottish 22 saw the ball being spread out wide before coming back into the centre and Williams passed to Dickson to score from close range and Hooley chipped the extras to make it 21-26.

With barely enough time to breathe, the Exiles responded with two more tries. Mosses found space to score before Uanivi was shown a clear path to dot down and Sharp converted both to make it 35-26 at the interval.

Any hope of things slowing down after the break were quickly expelled as the Blues score within five minutes. A series of penalties gave the Blues an attacking platform which resulted in Jarad Williams getting his second of the afternoon.

Sharp converted a 48th minute penalty to put his team 38-31 ahead. Le Bourgeois looked to have scored only for his effort to be chalked off for a forward pass. But Bedford tied things up in 54th minute with a well worked score. Good forward play saw the ball coming out to Gallagher who was close to a hat-trick but fell just short. Josh Buggea was on hand though to gather the scraps and score with Hooley converting.

Again, the hosts fired back in sizzling fashion as a succession of pick and go drives saw space opening up with Sharp being played in for the score which he converted.

Bedford stepped up the pressure and levelled once again as replacements Jordan Burns and Harry Sheppard combined to release Rich Lane with Sheppard converting his fellow Spice Boy’s try.

Scottish weren't having that though and Alex Walker sniped over three minutes later and Sharp converted to make it 52-45.

The game almost slowed down, but Bedford maintained their attack with Ben Cooper, Seam McCarthy, Jordan Onojaife, Huw Worthington and George Edgson all making an impact from the bench. 

Bedford pressed and Matt Williams was carded for persistent team infringements before the Blues lineout maul kicked in and the Exiles could do nothing but haul it down to concede the penalty try which evened things up.

There was one final flurry of excitement as a knock on gave the hosts a scrum in the Blues 22. Jake Sharp received the ball and pulled the trigger on a drop goal, but for the first time in afternoon, his effort went wide.

The Blues return to Goldington Road next Saturday for the 2017 finale against Ealing Trailfinders. The game kicks off at 3pm and you can buy discounted tickets at www.bedfordrugby.co.uk

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Next Home Match

Saturday 27th October
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

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