Bedford Blues v British Army

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019 - 19:45
1st XV Mobbs
Won 52-31

A whopping 1549 people were at Goldington Road on Wednesday night to honour the memory of Lt Col Edgar Mobbs in another pulsating game against the British Army which ended 52-31 to Bedford.

After soaking up some early pressure, a knock on gave the Blues an attacking scrum and they scored a super try in the third minute as Connor Tupai broke down the blindside before Ed Coulson turned on the gas to give Pat Tapley a simple run in to the corner with Harry Sheppard striking a wonderful conversion.

The Army responded in good fashion to the early setback with some good phases to work their way down the pitch. Junior Bulumakau opened up the defence with a good run before finding space to glide through the defence and over the line with Tony Lawless levelling the scores with the conversion in the eighth minute.

Bedford’s second try came in the 14th minute and it was a thing of beauty. A chip ahead was collected by Tapley who went on a fine run before handing the ball over to Tupai who hurtled forward. Joe Green was in support and after holding the ball up well, he saw the oncoming Coulson who received the ball and showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner.

It was quickly becoming a true Baa Baas style game as the Blues started to throw the ball around. Kieran Griffiths, Devante Onojaife and Anthony Maka were involved in a neat build up but the Army defence covered well. Moments later, Joe Green had an opportunity but he put a little too much boot through the ball and it rolled safely out the back of the try area.

A third try did arrive though and it was another well worked one for the Blues as Lewis Robling showed a great turn of pace to get things moving before Tupai popped the ball to Ben Cooper who crashed forward. The ball was quickly recycled along the line for Tapley to score in the corner and Sheppard struck a great conversion to make it 19-7.

The Army continued to look dangerous with LCpl Wheeldon pulling the strings and LBdr Boladau crashing through the defence, but the final ball let them down in the 30th minute when fullback Lawless just couldn’t keep hold of a quick pass on the edge of the Bedford 22.

The visitors came close moments later with more great build-up play but as Boladau stepped beautifully off his right foot, his left gave way and he knocked on. It mattered not though as Boladau got his score from the resulting scrum. A huge push saw the ball back in the Army’s possession and the number eight forced his way over for the unconverted try.

An overbaked kick saw the ball go out on the full giving the Blues an attacking lineout on the edge of the Army’s 22. With the ball tipped back, Bedford went on attack with Alex Rae, Ed Taylor and Will Carrick-Smith all pushing on while Tupai organised his backs before feeding Sheppard who grubbered forward with Coulson dotting down his second which Sheppard converted to make it 26-12 at the break.

The second half saw Chris Czekaj replacing Robling and three minutes later, the Blues crossed the whitewash again. A penalty was put to touch with Jacob Fields finding his man with the lineout ball before the maul drove forward and Onojaife dotted down with Sheppard striking a great conversion from the touchline.

Bedford began to ring the changes with Paul Tupai, Jake Sharp, Charley Robinson and James Lennon all coming onto the pitch as a regiment of Army replacements also took place. Ben Wilkinson and Nick Thomas also joined the fray but things got a little disjointed and no one took control.

That was until the 63rd minute when Coulson completed his hat-trick. Ben Wilkinson came on and caused all sorts of problems as he barged his way forward before the ball came to Sharp who played an outrageous pass out the back of his hand to Coulson who simply dotted down to make it 38-12.

But the Army showed their grit and were soon over the line themselves with a well taken score. A penalty set up a lineout attack before Jamie Stevenson powered his way forward and over the line before LBdr O’Reilly added the extras to make it 38-19.

Back came the Blues though as Tapley rounded off his hat-trick with a well taken score after breaking down the right and Sharp made it 45-19 with a well struck conversion.

The powerful Army scrum was doing all sorts of damage and it led to another try as they won against the head and Tom Chennell was able to go over from close range to make it 45-24.

With a minute left on the clock, the Army looked to cross once again as the dominating scrum pushed on but as the ball came out, Sharp intercepted and offloaded to Tapley who went coast-to-coast to score with Sharp adding the extras.

There was still time for a final Army attack as they opted for a scrum following a penalty just inside the Blues 22. Phases followed and Bedford looked to have averted danger with an interception only to turn the ball over again. The Army surged forward and crossed for a converted try to round the game off 52-31.

Bedford Blues: 15. Ed Coulson, 14 Pat Tapley, 13 Kieran Griffiths (Scarlets), 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Joe Green, 10 Harry Sheppard, 9 Connor Tupai; 1. Hayden King, 2. Jacob Fields, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Ed Taylor (c), 5. Will Carrick-Smith, 6. Antony Maka (Marlborough), 7. Alex Rae, 8. Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints)

Replacements: 16. Charley Robinson (Peterborough), 17. Paul Tupai, 18. Alex Penny, 19. Ben Wilkinson (Ampthill), 20. Nick Thomas (Bedford Ath), 21. James Lennon, 22. Jake Sharp, 23. Chris Czekaj.

British Army: 15. Cpl Lawless, 14. Pte Bulumakau, 13. Lbdr O’Reilly, 12. Spr Mercer, 11. Cpl Hull, 10. Sig Prasad, 9. LCpl Wheeldon, 1. Sgt Titchard-Jones, 2. Bdr Austin, 3. Sgt Dowding, 4. Sgt Parkin, 5. Cpl Bean, 6. Capt Miller, 7. Capt Cross, 8. LBdr Boladau.

Replacements: 16. Cpl Brown,  17. Bdr Gill, 18. Cpl Smith, 19. Cpl Heath, 20. 2Lt Stevenson, 21. Sgt Chennell  22. Cfn Laing, 23. Fus James, 24. Cpl Lewis, 25. Gnr Nayalo.

Ref: Dean Richards

Attendance: 1459

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