Bedford Blues v London Irish

Saturday, 1 December, 2018 - 15:00
1st XV Cup
Lost 11-36

Bedford Blues hopes of progressing form the pool stages of the Championship Cup were dented on Saturday afternoon as they went down 11-36 to London Irish.

The Blues got off to a great start and were leading at the break, but 26 unanswered second half points saw the Exiles run away with victory and maintained their top of the pool table status.

Games against former Premiership teams are never easy, but the Blues came firing out of the blocks as they asserted plenty of pressure on the exiles from the off. A lineout saw the Blues attacking well with Chris Czekaj making yards and Oli Curry crashing through before a penalty went Bedford’s way and Lewis Robling dispatched with ease.

Things got even better for the Blues following an electrifying attack from inside their own 22. Lee Dickson, got the ball moving before Rich Lane turned on the gas and streaked into the Exiles half. Pat Tapley, Alex Rae and Sean McCarthy all got in on the act before another penalty came Bedford’s way. With the ball nudged to touch, Charlie Clare found his man in the lineout and as the ball came down, Huw Worthington peeled away to score in the corner.

Irish started to turn the screw in offense as they started to grind their way forward. Bedford coughed up a penalty which Stephen Myler pinged to touch, but the Blues maul defence was superior and won the ball back. Sadly, a knock on after the ball was sent down the line gave Irish another chance and they seized the opportunity. The ball was spread right towards Topsy Ojo, but he was upended, so the Exiles came back the other way with Ben Loader dancing his way over the line for an unconverted score in the 15th minute.

Bedford were certainly under the cosh as London Irish continued to press, but the Blues defence was working overtime with Will Carrick-Smith, Mark Flanagan and Ben Cooper all in the mix. Worthington was acting like a wrecking ball whenever the Blues had ball in hand and he often pegged the opposition back.

Irish did get their reward though as half an hour passed on the clock. After the Blues had held up an attack over the line and down to 14 men after Rae was carded for a high tackle, the Exiles set their scrum with the ball sent down the line to Ojo who scored in the corner. Myler’s conversion struck the upright, but the visitors were ahead 8-10.

But it was Bedford who’d have the final score of the half as another promising attack - which went through 13 phases - was illegally stopped and Robling converted the resulting penalty.

The second half was a bit of a different affair with the Exiles taking the lead early on. Failure to collect the kick off led to a scrum and then a penalty which Irish sent to touch. The lineout was safely taken in and then the maul drove over with hooker Saia Fainga’a claiming the score and Myler converted.

Blues skipper Dickson was not happy in the 50th minute when he raced back to dot down an Irish grubber kick only for the assistant to say it was carried over the line. Bedford defended the scrum well but Irish piled forward with backs and forwards linking up and it resulted in replacement hooker Dave Porecki firing through a gap close to the line to score the bonus point try. 

Bedford were struggling to get a footing in the game, but the replacements had a good effect with Jacob FIelds, Alex Penny, Toby Trinder, Ed Taylor and Jarad Williams all carrying well. Despite a few excursions into the Irish 22, the Blues came away with nothing and were soon punished again when Terrence Hepetema crossed the whitewash with Myler making it 11-29.

Irish were on the frontfoot again in the 66th minute when a scrum set up their sixth try. A break from the back did not have the desired effect, but after a couple more phases, Mat Rogerson crossed the line and Myler converted once again.

As the game reached its conclusion, the Exiles conceded penalties and lost Blair Cowan and Barney Maddison to yellow cards, but the Blues just couldn’t find a way though. James Lennon and Dean Adamson added pace to the attack while Fields continued to punch holes in the defence, but a knock on at the ruck pretty much summed up the afternoon as the Exiles took the spoils.

Bedford Blues: 15. Rich Lane, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Ed Coulson, 12. Chris Czekaj, 11. Ryan Hutler, 10. Lewis Robling, 9. Lee Dickson; 1. Sean McCarthy, 2. Charlie Clare, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Will Carrick-Smith, 5. Mark Flanagan, 6. Oli Curry, 7. Alex Rae, 8. Huw Worthington.

Replacements: 16. Jacob Fields, 17. Toby Trinder, 18. Alex Penny, 19. Ed Taylor, 20. Jarad Williams, 21. James Lennon, 22. Dean Adamson

London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 1 Gordon Reid, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 3 Pat Cilliers, 4 Josh McNally ©, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Max Northcote-Green, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Matt Rogerson

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Barney Maddison, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jacob Atkins

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road



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