Bedford Blues v Richmond
Bedford Blues recorded their first win of the season in a hard fought encounter against Championship new boys Richmond at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.
Six tries – including a hat-trick for Pat Tapley – ensured a bonus point win for the Blues, but they were certainly made to work extremely hard for their victory.
“You could say that the monkey is off the back a little bit, but it is a funny one,” said Blues centre Ollie Dodge after the final whistle. “Over the last few games we haven’t got the win but as players, we felt that we had made good gains and it was all coming together. It was good to get out there and get the win today but we know that we left a lot of points out there today and that’s something that we’ll have to put right going forward.
“It was good for the team to score a few tries today as well. The plan was to hit them hard, tire them out a little and then get the ball wide to the fast boys to finish and they did just that today. It worked well.
“Full credit to Richmond though, they’ve had a tough run of games but they fought hard until to the end and it won’t be long until they get a victory.”
Bedford were on the attack early on when the kick-off from Jake Sharp’s boot was collected by Dean Adamson and the Blues pressed for the line. A penalty followed and Sharp put it in the corner, but the lineout ball crept over the top and Richmond were able to clear their lines.
It was an evenly contested opening 15 minutes with both sides looking to attack with ball in hand while sending the occasional kick into the space that inevitably opened up.
In the 18th minute, Bedford’s persistence paid off as they opened the scoring. Having thrown the ball around the backs for a little while, the forwards took over with a series of pick and go phases which finally saw the ball come out to Pat Tapley - sporting rather patriotic blue hair for the game – who danced his way past the final defender to score with Sharp converting.
Richmond’s response was immediate though. Having taken in the restart, their pack drove towards the line and picked up a penalty which was taken quick, but Tom Farrell didn’t retreat in time and the ref sent him to the bin for deliberately stopping play. The resulting penalty went to touch before the lineout maul did its job and flanker Adam Peters crossed the line with Rob Kirby converting.
Bedford knuckled down for the next ten minutes and despite being a man light, they continued to attack with Ollie Dodge, Jack Culverhouse and Jacob Fields all charging forward in an attempt to break the gain line.
Back to a full complement, the Blues started to express themselves a little more and a nifty move that started in midfield resulted in a second try. Jordan Burns was the catalyst with a great break before he linked up with Justin Blanchet who sent the ball wide to Dean Adamson with the winger slotting a final pass inside to captain Mike Le Bourgeois who crossed the line for an unconverted try.
Two minutes later and the Blues were in again. Despite being on the back foot, Le Bourgeois broke superbly along the left wing, out-smarted the defence and then popped the ball to the supporting Adamson who had the gas to score with Sharp slotting the extra two points.
The quick double may have sunk other teams, but Richmond responded positively and came close to pulling a try back just before the interval. Will Warden made an excellent burst into the Blues 22 but Bedford’s defence held firm and repelled the attack with the half ending soon afterwards, but the Blues were forced into a change as Sharp took a knock and needed to be replaced by Myles Dorrian.
Bedford came out firing and were straight on the attack. Josh Buggea put in a momentous effort to gain valuable yards before the ball came along the line to Farrell who had support either side, but the centre was pounced upon quick and the move broke down.
The Blues continued to push and Richmond were on the receiving end of a yellow card when flanker Jack Allcock was carded for stopping the Blues from playing the ball quickly from a penalty. The Blues opted for a scrum and out-gunned Richmond who conceded a penalty, then a free kick, then another penalty. When a free kick was called again, Burns saw his chance, went quick and spread the ball wide to Tapley who dotted down to make it 24-7.
Play swung back in Richmond’s favour and a penalty was sent deep into Bedford’s 22. The lineout was collected but the maul fell just shy of the line. Richmond regathered and wet through several pick and go phases which eventually saw prop Jeremy Cunnew crossing the line and Kirby converting once more.
Richmond’s Allcock was a nervous man in the 65th minute after Tom James took a quick tap penalty and was unceremoniously stopped in his tracks by the number 7. He may have feared the worse having already been card but after a long chat with his assistant, the referee awarded the penalty which Dorrian couldn’t convert. It didn’t matter too much though as Goldington Road was soon cheering again as Tapley went over for his hat trick try and it came from more good work from Le Bourgeois who played him in.
Richmond were reduced to 14 men for the final ten minutes when Cunnew was given a yellow card for a high tackle as Bedford went on the attack. The ball sailed to touch, Sam James found his man and the Blues pack trundled over with Ed Taylor being the man to ground the ball to make it 34-14.
Bedford continued to control the final stages, but Richmond did come close again with former Blue Ali Lyon falling just short of the line as the time ticked away. The Blues rallied quickly though, won the penalty and averted all danger until the final whistle blew.
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
More of Nigel Rudgard's pics can be found HERE