Cornish Pirates v Bedford Blues
The Bedford Blues fans who made the long Easter weekend trip to Penzance were given an afternoon of running rugby played very much in the style of a pre-season friendly which ended 40-40.
A try at the death for Myles Dorrian in his last appearance in a Blues jersey was converted by Elliot Clements-Hill to ensure that the game finished honours even at a sunny Mennaye Field which saw 12 tries in a pulsating end to end game.
Speaking after the fixture Dorrian, who is heading back to Australia at the end of season, said: “What can you say? The only way it could have been written any better would have been if we got the win. That would have been the icing on the cake. At the end, I saw Elliott and Booj setting off and I was trying to find my lungs to keep up. To score that try and convert it was a fitting way to finish my time with the Blues.
“I’ve had a fantastic time at Bedford and I’m feeling really emotional. The lads have been magnificent, the fans are wonderful and I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s been immense.”
Bedford will have been pleased with the way they started the game as they went straight on the front foot with Pat Tapley, Elliot Clements-Hill and Piers O’Conor all looking to work their way down the wings with Jordan Burns directing traffic.
The breakthrough came in the sixth minute when a penalty was sent to touch five metres from the Pirates try line. Will Carrick-Smith collected the ball and the pack – with help from Mike Le Bourgeois and Tapley – drove over the line with Dan George dotting down and Sharp adding the extras.
The Blues continued to show their attacking flair and a fine move along the left involving Clements-Hill and Myles Dorrian only ended as the offload landed in a Pirate hand and the danger was averted.
Bedford then truly managed to shoot themselves in the foot and allow the home side to take control of the game. A quick lineout in the Blues 22 didn’t have the desired effect and a rushed clearance kick was palmed away and landed in a Pirates hand before being quickly moved about to Tom Duncan who went over with Will Cargill converting in the tenth minute.
Six minutes later and the Pirates doubled their lead with another strong attack. The forwards were knocking on the door and with a penalty advantage, scrum half Alex Day sneaked around the corner before Cargill added the extras.
In the 21st minute, the Pirates once again displayed an impressive and methodical attack. Max Bodilly made a great break before the ball went along the line to flanker Jake Parker who sent a kick many fly halves would have been jealous of, through the gap for Jack Arnott to dive on to. Cargill added the extras and things look decidedly bleak for Bedford.
But the Blues character shone through and it was the fast boys who helped get a leg back in the game. Pat Tapley played in Jordan Burns and as he looked to pass back, Cargill stuck out a hand and prevented what looked to be a certain try. A penalty followed and Bedford went to touch before Pirates infringed again. Another kick followed before the lineout drive took hold but came up short. Bedford persisted though and with another advantage, they played quick ball to George who burrowed over from close range and Sharp converted.
Bedford then came up lucky – twice. A harsh high tackle went against Tupai and the Pirates went to the corner only to obstruct at the lineout. They then did the same thing two minutes later as scores went begging.
But the hosts did secure a try bonus before the break as a scrum seven metres out led to a flurry of phases before Duncan went over from about a foot out and Cargill converted.
The second half started much as the first finished with Duncan wrapping up his hat-trick with a well worked effort from close range which Cargill converted to put his team in control at 35-14.
Bedford began to ring the changes with the first being Mike Howard heading off the park in a Blues jersey for the final time to be replaced by Jordan Onojaife while Paul Tupai was swapped with Josh Buggea.
The Blues were trying their hardest to find a way back into it with Burns once again at the heart of things while Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Chris Judge and Ben Adams crashed through at every opportunity.
Persistence finally paid off in the 53rd minute as Bedford went on the attack in the Pirates 22. Despite the ball being dropped and everyone seemingly waiting on a whistle, Bedford carried on playing with Mike Le Bourgeois jinxing his way across the field before the ball ended up in Buggea’s hands and he dived over the line to score and Sharp quickly converted.
Four minutes later and Bedford were well and truly back in the game. The Pirates coughed up a cheap penalty and Bedford hurtled forward with Dorrian turning back the years with the old show ’n’ go to confuse the defence and dot down with Sharp adding the extras once again.
Bedford’s fans were getting excited at 35-28 and it was no surprise to see Cargill lining up a penalty rather than going to the corner, but the fly half pulled his effort wide and a score was all that separated the teams.
But the hosts weren’t going to let Bedford off and they scored what could have been a decisive try when a series of pick and go efforts edged them towards the line before Alex O’Meara had the simplest of tries in the corner for an unconverted effort.
Jacob Field thought he had the Blues back in it moments later when he dived over from close range, but it was chalked off for not being grounded and the Pirates then won a penalty which was cleared to touch.
With two minutes left on the clock, the comeback was on as a box kick was sent deep into Bedford’s territory. Clements-Hill gathered and then went on a mazing 60 metre run from the left wing to the right before popping the ball to the supporting Piers O’Conor who dotted down but Dorrian couldn’t convert.
Time was running out as the game restarted, but Bedford held their nerve and were given one last shot in stoppage time. The ball came to Le Bourgeois who again managed to create space and had Clement-Hill in support. The winger looked outside to see Dorrian who galloped away to score under the posts before passing the ball to Clements-Hill to calmly drop kick the extras.
It’ been a tough old season, but this game probably sums things up pretty well. Never rule Bedford out of anything!
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
Pictures courtesy of Brian Tempest - see more of his pictures HERE