Bedford Blues v Ampthill

Wednesday, 26 December, 2018 - 15:00
1st XV Reserve
Lost 28-31

It was a true festive fun day at Goldington Road on Wednesday afternoon as 4,554 rugby fans turned up for the Boxing Day ‘Battle of Bedfordshire’ between Bedford Blues and Ampthill which resulted in a win for the Mob.

Having slumped to a 7-24 half time deficit, Mike Rayer’s men scored three tries, two for Pat Tapley and one for Dean Adamson, after the interval but they ran out of time as Ampthill managed to cling on to their narrow advantage to take home a 28-31 victory. 

It was a fast start to the ‘Battle of Bedfordshire’ as Ampthill put the Blues under some early pressure with some superb tactical kicking.  

Despite Ampthill’s early flurries it was the home side who looked to have made the first real breakthrough, when the returning Jake Sharp found himself with just grass between himself and the try line, but Sharp was pulled back for a knock on, and the penalty was awarded to Ampthill. 

The halfway line saw a lot of action in the opening exchanges, that was until Will Carrick-Smith burst through the away side’s backline to win a penalty for the Blues on the Ampthill 22 metre line. Despite a beautifully placed kick to the corner, the boys in blue subsequently gave away a penalty allowing our visitors to relieve the pressure. 

The first real dangerous moment of the game fell when Tom Hitchcock chipped a lovely kick through to give Pat Tapley a ball to chase to the corner. The play resulted in a scrum being awarded to the Blues just 10 metres out from the Ampthill try line, would come to no avail. 

The opening try of the game came after 18 minutes when Ampthill managed to play their way to the Blues 22 line. Some quick hands and great width enabled winger Spencer Sutherland to score in the corner. Ex-Blue James Pritchard failed to add the extras on his return to Goldington Road. 

Ampthill added another try after 22 minutes when some loose handling in the midfield allowed another former Blue, Billy Johnson, to make a quick break for the line, making the score 0-10. 

The opening 20 minutes of the game saw a lot of dropped balls and poor handling, but the boot of Jake Sharp was, as always, in fine form, enabling the Blues to get some good field position. 

Just as the Blues looked to be getting a foothold in the game, a loose pass left winger Joe Green isolated. Ampthill winger Spencer Sutherland picked up the ball again and sprinted his way to Ampthill’s third try of the game, putting the score to 0-17. 

A few minutes later, with Ampthill still applying the pressure, a gap appeared in the Blues back line allowing Sam Hanks to cross over and make the score 0-24 in favour of our visitors. 

The Blues finished the first half strongly though. The lineout was superb all day with Jacob Fields at the helm, and a tough maul resulted in a penalty 10 metres from home. Jake Sharp took the initiative with a quick tap and go to set up Joe Green to score the Blues’ opening try of the afternoon with Sharp adding two extras to make the score 7-24 at the interval.

Mike Rayer’s men came out fighting in the second half and immediately managed to open up Ampthill’s defence. Pat Tapley picked up the ball in the centre and skipped through a couple of attempted tackles to give the Blues the best possible start to the second half. 

The tide appeared to be turning with the additions of Lewis Robling and Dean Adamson to the Blues back line while Paul Tupai made his return to action replacing Ed Taylor. 

Moments after his introduction, the ball was spun out wide to Dean Adamson who had only one thing on his mind. He burst forwards down the line and chipped a delightful kick over the Ampthill defence, making it a footrace to the line. Dean the speedster got to the ball as it crossed over and touched down to bring the Blues within 3 points at 21-24. 

Ampthill managed to halt the Blues onslaught with some clever play of their own. It looked for all the world as if they had scored a fifth try, but referee (and former Blue) Karl Dickson pulled the play back for an infringement right at the last. Ampthill couldn’t be stopped however as they managed to regain possession from the penalty and bundled the ball over the line to make the score 21-31. 

As we entered the last ten minutes of the game, it was ten points that the Blues needed to make up in order to draw level with local rivals Ampthill. The home side managed to win a penalty on the half way line, which produced a huge roar from the crowd for a mighty finish to the match. 

Jake Sharp created a moment of magic with 6 minutes to play after winning the ball back cleverly in the middle of the park. A delightful chip through kick saw Pat Tapley chasing the ball down to score his second try of the game and get the Blues back within three points at 28-31. 

James Lennon produced one of the moments of the match when he managed to throw a beautiful pass out to Lewis Robling while being tackled to the ground and spun around. The ball seemed to have grease on it though as Ampthill won back possession again after a knock on.

The Blues worked the ball well across the back line but again failed to make anything of the move as Ampthill won the penalty for a knock on and gained possession back. That was the story of the last few minutes as the visitors held on to claim victory on derby day at Goldington Road by 28-31. 

Bedford Blues: 15. Tom Walker, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Ed Coulson, 12. Tom Hitchcock, 11. Joe Green, 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Al Gliksten; 1. Hayden King, 2. Jacob Fields, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Ed Taylor (c), 5. Will Carrick-Smith, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Alex Rae, 8. Huw Worthington

Replacements: 16. Charlie Robinson, 17. Sean McCarthy, 18. Brandon Palmer, 19. Paul Tupai, 20. Joe Britton, 21. James Lennon, 22. Lewis Robling, 23. Dean Adamson

Ampthill: 15. James Pritchard, 14. Spencer Sutherland, 13. Viliami Hakalo, 12. Sam Hanks, 11. Sam Baker, 10. Mickey Wilson, 9. George De Cohti; 1. Soane Tonga’uiha, 2. Aleki Lutui, 3. Matt Collins, 4. Carl Burgess, 5. Henri Williams, 6. Billy Johnson, 7. Joe Bercis, 8. Maama Molitika

Replacements: 16. Olly Walliker, 17. Karl Garside, 18. Chris Muncaster, 19. Josh Walker, 20. Will Allman, 21. Gavin Williams, 22. Michael Waters, 23. Will Foster

Referee: Karl Dickson

Attendance: 4554

Next Home Match

Saturday 21st September
1st XV Cup
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at