Bedford Blues will be bidding a fond farewell to prop Ben Cooper at the end of the season after it was confirmed that he’d be joining Bury St Edmunds as player/coach.

Cooper, who has made 110 appearances for the Blues over two spells at the club, has been a cornerstone of the Blues scrum while at Goldington Road offering power and mobility up front as well as fantastic scrummaging ability.

He took on a coaching role with Bury earlier this season and has now decided to commit himself to the National Two South club on a permanent basis.

Speaking about his departure, Cooper said: “I’ve loved playing for Bedford Blues from day one and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. It isn’t just a rugby club, it is a family and I am very proud to have represented the Blues over the years.

“Over the past year, I’ve been coaching the Bury St Edmunds forwards and this is something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing. The management at Bury St Edmunds offered me the chance to take up a player/coach role for next season and, after speaking with Mike, decided that this would be a great opportunity.

“I’d like to thank everyone at the Blues, particularly the fans, for all of their support over the years. It’s been a wonderful experience and one that I’ll never forget.”

Mike Rayer added: “Ben has been an absolute pleasure to work with and everyone wishes him the best of luck with his move to Bury St Edmunds. His commitment to the Blues has been brilliant and I know he will continue to give 100 percent right up until the final whistle on the last day of the season.”

Cooper learnt his trade under former Blue, Mike Guess, at Cambridge RFC, for whom he made his debut in 2008 before making the move to Goldington Road in January 2012. During his first stint at the club, Coops made more than 50 appearances and helped the Blues reach the 2012/13 Championship final.

At the end of the following season, Cooper was offered the chance of Premiership rugby with London Welsh and a move to Oxford followed where he made ten top flight appearances in the 2014/15 campaign. He was an ever present in the London Welsh front row in 2015/16 making 30 appearances in all matches, which also saw him claiming his debut try for the club in front of the Sky Sports cameras as he dived over against Bristol at Old Deer Park.

Cooper returned to Bedford Blues following London Welsh’s demise and he has continued his fine work as well as racking up his centenary appearance earlier this season.

Next Home Match

Saturday 21st September
1st XV Cup
Goldington Road