Bedford Blues v London Welsh
Wow... Not very often you can say it, but wow!
After an impressive second half against Plymouth last weekend Bedford Blues put in a monumental performance to beat league leaders London Welsh at Goldington Road.
Young winger Patrick Tapley rounded off his man of the match performance with a first half brace while replacement Jake Sharp hurtled half the pitch to score the all-important try and Mike Le Bourgeois kicked 13 points.
Bedford almost let all their hard work slip at the end when the Exiles replacement hooker Kevin Davis scored deep in stoppage time, but kicker Ales Davies pulled the conversion - which would have levelled the game – wide of the uprights.
Looking back over the 80 minutes, it was Welsh who started brightly as Davies converted an early penalty before Le Bourgeois replied with one of his own and then Davies retorted again.
London Welsh sent their next penalty into touch and from the lineout they scored the opening try. Swift hands moved the ball along the line and winger Scott dotted down but Davies pulled the conversion wide.
With the score at 3-11 after ten minutes some may have feared that London Welsh would extend their lead, but the Blues had different plans. The scrum was in particular disruptive form, winning three penalties in the first 40 and then Tapley made his presence felt.
The summer signing from Cambridge found himself in the middle of a ruck and did the only thing a back should do in that situation – he got out and took the ball with him straight over the line with Booj converting.
Minutes later Tapley got his second. The restart was collected upfront and the backs set themselves. Luke Baldwin – playing his last game in a Blues shirt before heading to Bristol – fed Mark Atkinson who sold several dummies to make it out of the 22 and towards the ten metre line. He then gifted the ball to Tapley who showed tremendous gas to out-pace the London Welsh defence to score and Booj again converted to make it 17-11 before Davies converted a penalty on the stroke of half time.
The second half really proved Bedford’s mettle as they displayed some fine defensive work. Le Bourgeois extended the Blues lead with a neat penalty on 49 minutes and then London Welsh threw everything including the kitchen sink at Bedford.
Time and time again the Blues repelled the attack with some magnificent tackling, hard rucking and disruptive mauling techniques. It took until the 72nd minute for Welsh to get their reward when replacement winger Joe Ajuwa was bundled over the line following several phases of play close to the Blues line. Davies converted to make it 20-21 but from the restart, Welsh were pinged at the breakdown and Le Bourgeois restored the Blues lead form in front of the posts.
With time ticking away and London Welsh on the offensive again, Bedford stood their ground and wouldn’t allow the Exiles to breach the gain line. With passes being slung out at every opportunity, Jake Sharp telegraphed one perfectly, intercepted and used the slope to his advantage to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Everyone thought time was up, but the ref allowed a restart and the Exiles pack drove forward with Davis popping up with the ball to score the try but Davies effort from the kicking tee went wide and Goldington Road exploded with joy.
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