Ealing Trailfinders v Bedford Blues
Bedford Blues chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup suffered a huge blow on Saturday afternoon as they went down 40-23 to Ealing Trailfinders at Vallis Way.
When the teams met in the league encounter earlier this season, a single point separated them while last weekend’s reversal saw a 19 all draw. But an impressive first half from the hosts saw them set up a healthy lead which, despite a late fight back from Bedford, they never surrendered.
Sticking to the script, it took Ealing just a few minutes to score their opening try against the Blues when Aaron Penberthy spotted Curtis Wilson in space and sent a cross kick straight to the winger who avoided the last defender and dotted down before Penberthy converted.
The Blues fired back from the restart when a penalty was converted by Myles Dorrian, but the hosts cancelled it out when Penberthy slotted one of his own to make it 10-3.
Soon afterwards, Ealing were awarded another penalty in a promising position and the ball was sent to touch where lineout ball was delivered and the pack trundled over with Mark Bright crossing the line and Penberthy slotting the extras.
Bedford then went on a sustained attack in the Ealing 22 but the home defence held firm and a knock on ended what looked a promising move. The Blues were playing the advantage though, and Dorrian converted his second penalty of the afternoon.
Ealing’s clinical nature saw them score their third of the afternoon when another scrum penalty resulted in another driving maul from the lineout and this time it was former Blue Seb Nagle-Taylor who came up with the ball and Penberthy added the extras.
The Blues defended well to stop Glen Townson going over moments later, but the try bonus was wrapped up by the hosts two minutes before the interval when Phil Chesters was played in by Lewis Jones to score in the corner.
Penberthy converted his second penalty of the afternoon to get the score board rolling, but Bedford responded with a well taken try after Michael Le Bourgeois came close to the line before the ball came out to Dorrian who raced away to score before converting his own effort.
Penberthy added a third penalty before the tried-and-trusted driving maul did its job following another lineout and Matt Cornish crossed for an unconverted try making it 40-13.
Bedford were to score two late tries in the final few minutes with the first coming from replacement Jake Sharp who crashed over the line before Jordan Burns showed a fantastic turn of pace to rush over the line deep in stoppage.
While not mathematically impossible, the Blues face an uphill challenge of reaching the quarter-finals of the cup competition. A home game against Yorkshire Carnegie followed by an away trip to Wales to face the Dragons Select XV will both require bonus point victories for Bedford to stand a chance of escaping Pool Five.
However, attention now turns back to the Greene King IPA Championship and a Boxing Day encounter against Jersey Reds at Goldington Road.
COME ON YOU BUES!!!