Bedford Blues v Bishop's Stortford

Friday, 24 August, 2018 - 19:45
1st XV Pre Season
Won 48-10

The Blues got back to winning ways this evening at Goldington Road with a 48-10 victory over National League One side Bishop’s Stortford in their final pre-season fixture, writes Tom Skinner.

It ended up being a comfortable triumph for Bedford after running in eight tries. The Blues’ coaching staff will however be very pleased with the professional nature in which their team dispatched their opponents.

Despite there being a few moments where steely defending was required, the Blues overall dealt with the attacking play and powerful mauls of Bishiop’s Stortford extremely well.

There seems to be a growing confidence going forwards as well with some fantastic link-up play making it look easy at times. There were a hat full of tries and even more positives to take from the game which will only add to the excitement ahead of next weekend’s trip to Nottingham.

A superb crowd of 788 joined us at Goldington Road for our final pre-season fixture of the year, and the first half certainly did not disappoint.

Our visitors Bishop’s Stortford came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and looked to be relishing their opportunity to play at Goldington Road. The early exchanges weren’t particularly clean with both sides trying to play with the ball in hand, the pre-match downpour certainly made conditions a lot trickier than last weekend when the Sarries were in town.

The Blues quickly began to display why they were the Championship side, a succession of early penalties resulted in Will Hooley being able to put the Blues inside the Stortford five metre line. The opening score came as a result of the following lineout which was superbly won by the Blues’ pack, a super cross field kick by Hooley found Ed Coulson in acres of space on the right wing for one of the simpler tries of his career.

The ball seemed to not make it far away from the half way line for the next few minutes, that was until Stortford winger Rob Duff broke through the Blues back line and sort of bumbled his way to the line to score the equalising try.

The game began to open up as we approached the 15 minute mark when the conditions seemed to force the players to use the boot a bit more to get some position on the pitch.

The second score of the game came after 19 minutes when the Blues won a penalty from a lineout on the Stortford five metre line. Jarad Williams wasted no time in taking the tap-and-go and burst through the nonchalant away defense to make it 10-5 with Will Hooley adding the extras from the tee.

As the half wore on the Blues started to put together a few phases inside the opposition half, but it wasn’t until the 29th minute of the game that Ben Foden managed to find Ed Coulson in acres of space to score his second of the game.

Rich Lane decided to get in on the act after a fantastic offload from Foden under heavy pressure found our fullback with a 1-on-1 scenario on the left wing. In true Rich Lane style he decided to just smash through the tackle and bundle the ball over the line to make the score 24-5 after 34 minutes.

Just before half-time and after a bit of fisty-cuffs between both sets of players, Ben Foden showed a real touch of class. The former Saints man sent his opposite number packing with a ankle twisting dummy to put the Blues further ahead.

The second half started in a slightly subdued manner with a lengthy injury delay. When we did eventually get going again it was the away side that had the rub of the green in the opening exchanges. Stortford really made an effort to play more with the ball in hand through the midfield and got their rewards with a lot more territory. The Blues held strong though and the away side rarely advanced in to our 22 thanks to some sturdy defensive work.

It took 20 minutes for the first score of the second half when Saintsman Matt Worley went on a superb individual break followed by a couple of dummies to dot down and Hooley added the extras to make it 38-5. With the game starting to open up a little, the Blues added another try in the 65th minute when Tom Hitchcock - a player more used to wearing the Bishop's Stortford jersey - found his way over the line.

Stortford never gave in and they showed plenty of ingenuity as the punted a penalty to the corner and then sent a wave of mauls towards the Blues line. With the wind in their sails, the visitors finally got their reward as fullback Tom Walker crossed the whitewash to make it 43-10 with the unconverted try.

There was time for one more Blues try and it came deep in stoppage time. James Lennon - making his first appearance in nine months - exchanged passes with Joe Green to work an easy enough run in to finish the game 48-10.

It was certainly a great final hit out for the Blues ahead of the Championship campaign which kicks off against Nottingham next Sunday.


Next Home Match

Saturday 21st September
1st XV Cup
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at