Bedford Blues got their pre-season friendly campaign off to the best possible start with a six try victory over near-neighbours Old Albanians.

1167 fans came to Goldington Road on Friday night to see the home side win 40-5 with Steve Ellis and Joe Vandermolen scoring two tries apiece while James Currie and Paul Tupai also dotting down. Sam Lunnon scored a consolation try for the visitors who put in a fine shift throughout the 80 minutes.

Playing down the slope, the first half started tentatively with both sides working each other out. Ill discipline was rearing its head early on with a number of penalties going in either direction but neither team really setting their stall out.

Bedford’s pack certainly enjoyed the early exchanges and were over-powering the OA forwards in the majority of scrums and mauls so it was probably right that prop Currie scored the opening try from close range following good support work. Steffan Jones converted confidently to make it 7-0 after 20 minutes.

Goldington Road didn’t have to wait long for a second try and it came courtesy of centre Steven Ellis who was in the right place at the right time. Old Albanians had kept possession well and had men out wide for an attack but as a long pass sought their winger, Ellis darted in and plucked the ball out of the air before turning on the gas to score an unconverted try.

Four minutes later and it was 19-0 to the Blues as the pack once again set up the try. Old Albanians had the put in after Peter White’s chip rolled dead, but the forwards turned the screw, drove forward and Vandermolen collected from his feet. There was still plenty to do for last season’s Player’s Player of the Year but the number eight danced and jinked his way over with Jones adding the extras.

Old Albanians were probably a little shell shocked from the previous ten minutes but they regrouped well and continued to test the Blues defensive skills with a flurry of attacks but Bedford held firm and were able to shift momentum and set up a fourth try.

Once again it was the forwards making the most of territory gained by the backs who won a penalty which was sent to touch. The lineout was taken well and the Blues powered over with Toops breaking away to score and Jones converted well from the left.

There was almost time for Jim Wigglesworth to open his account when the Blues put together a string of fantastic passes, but the final offload was judged to have gone forward and the ref blew for half time.

Bedford picked up where they left off in the second half which was just five minutes old when Vandermolen scored his second of the evening. Again the scrum worked well and as it rotated anti-clockwise, Vandermolen scooped in the ball and crossed the whitewash with Jones again converting.

Tupai took his chance to remind the young ones that he can still throw himself around the field and his huge hit left an Old Albanian wincing on the floor. Jones sadly went off with an arm injury but his replacement Jake Sharp was called into action a few minutes later to convert the Blues sixth try.

Bedford old boy Jon Phillips – who turns 42 on Saturday – was carded for an infringement at the maul and with the man advantage the Blues went on the attack. A series of phases followed before a quick tap penalty was passed to Ellis and he bundled his way over with Sharp converting.

The remainder of the game saw Old Albanians continuing to pressurise the Blues and Lunnon got a deserved try when a loose pass was collected by the visitors and the big flanker galloped away to score. The less said about the conversion attempt the better.

All in all it was a good night at the office for the Blues. Old Albanians were always going to be a tough challenge and it certainly proved to be the case but the Blues had plenty of firepower to see them home. The future looks bright for Mike Rayer’s men but a trip to Ealing next weekend will certainly reveal  a bit more about the new squad.


Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road