Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates

Saturday, 14 April, 2018 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 29-34

There was an air of Groundhog Day at Goldington Road as Cornish Pirates came a plundering with their Number Eight scoring a hat-trick of tries during a 29-34 win for the visitors.

Almost a year to the day, the Blues and Pirates played out an enthralling 40 all draw down at the Mennaye with Duncan crossing the whitewash three times that afternoon as well.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Blues though as they remain in third place thanks to a late penalty securing a losing bonus point while a Jordan Burns hat-trick and one for Howard Packman sealed the try bonus as well.

It came as absolutely no shock to anyone that this would be a high-tempo affair as both teams have a habit of loving to throw the ball around and run as much as humanly possible. The Pirates were the first to show their intention as Duncan crossed in the third minute. While it was a driving maul that did the damage, Bedford were arguably lucky to still have 15 men as Howard Packman was pinged for deliberately cutting off a Pirate who had chipped and chased. The penalty went to the visitors with touch simply found and the powerful pack going over with the number eight coming up with the ball which Will Cargill converted.

Bedford's response didn't take long as they pegged the Pirates back. Cargill put up a big kick which was taken in by Michael Le Bourgeois who made yards and offloaded to the supporting Dean Adamson who in turn, fed Jordan Burns and he stepped delightfully to gallop over the whitewash with Will Hooley adding the extras in the ninth minute.

Back came the Pirates and back came Duncan who was in the right place at the right time to go over for his sides second in the 15th minute but the conversion from Cargill went astray.

The Blues seemed to take a little more control of the game with some great carries from Tom Lindsay, Will Carrick-Smith and Alex Rae, but it was Burns who crossed again. Rory Hutchinson and Packman had linked up well down the right wing before Alex Rae popped the ball to Burns who had space and stepped on the accelerator to score and Hooley converted once more.

The Cornishmen weren't helped when Alex O'Meara was carded straight from the restart as he took Dean Adamson out in the air and Bedford started to turn the screw. Wave after wave of attack came forward before a lineout set up the inevitable try. Justin Blanchet collected and set the maul but the ball soon broke away with Huw Worthington making yards. With the backs screaming for the ball, it came through Burns, Hooley, Le Bourgeois and Hutchinson to Packman who had come off his wing and then turned on the afterburners to score. Hooley’s conversion made it 21-12. 

But the Pirates rallied well and got the next try thanks once again to Duncan who capped off a fine personal performance. Having soaked up a huge amount of pressure as the Blues pushed for another try, the ball was snaffled away and Tom Lawday made great ground before offloading to the supporting Alex Day who found Duncan who glided over the line with Cargill converting.

Bedford were at sixes and sevens, and with a full compliment back on the field, the Pirates made the Blues pay with their fourth of the afternoon. A scrum in Bedford midfield saw the Pirates break quickly and an overlap was created which Kyle Moyle benefitted from to score and Cargill struck a fine conversion to give his side a 21-26 half-time lead.

Bedford were guilty of still being ‘in the changing room’ as the second half started and the visitors extended their lead. A fine flowing move was rounded off by skipper Nicolas De Battista who slammed over the line but the conversion went begging.

Cargill made up for his error in the 48th minute when he chipped over a penalty to secure a 21-34 lead, but back came Bedford and back came Burns. Rich Lane had made a super break with Alex Rae beside him who gifted the ball to Burns who surged over for his hat-trick try which went unconverted.

Whereas the two defences had been slightly missing in the opening half, they were earning their money in the second as both cancelled one another out. There wasn’t a lot of room out there, but Packman showed fantastic football skills to kick ahead twice with the ball stopping on the try line, but O’Meara out-paced his opposite number to dot down and earn the 22 drop.

Bedford pieced together a good string of phases form a lineout but an unfortunate knock on ended the move before a penalty let Pirates set up their own attack. A good lineout move saw the visitors break down the right and it was only a cover tackle from Ben Adams that dislodged the ball and earned a scrum when a try looked more likely.

With five minutes on the clock, Bedford were pushing for another score. Numerous penalties followed but Bedford wanted a try and sent it to the corner. While the first and second attacks failed, Bedford got another penalty. Instead of taking the points, a tap-and-go followed before a heartbreaking knock-on ended the move.

Deep in stoppage time, another series of penalties came before the decision was made to convert the final one – which Harry Sheppard duly did – to earn that second bonus point and keep the Blues above the visitors in the league table.

Attention now turns very much to next weekend’s British & Irish Cup semi-final against Ealing Trailfinders at Vallis Way. 


Next Home Match

Saturday 21st September
1st XV Cup
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at