Hartpury v Bedford Blues

Saturday, 30 March, 2019 - 14:30
1st XV Championship
Lost 28-26

It was a case of close but no cigar for the Blues on Saturday afternoon as they went down 28-26 against battling Hartpury.

A Charlie Clare brace plus one each for Jarad Williams and Dean Adamson secured a try bonus and a losing bonus point, but the Blues were left disappointed that they couldn't quite overcome the Gloucestershire outfit.

There was very little to separate the two teams in the opening exchanges with neither team able to make much headway in the Gloucestershire sunshine. The home side made good use of the boot to set up an attacking lineout, but Tom Seabrook slipped at the vital moment and Bedford were off the hook.

In the 15th minute the Blues started to kick into gear and went through numerous phases as the forwards through JOsh Buggea, Justin Blanchet and Jarad Williams piled forward with  Lee Dickson directing traffic and Will Hooley releasing the backs but the hosts held firm to win a penalty and clear their lines.

Bedford had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 19th minute with a five metre lineout following some great build up play but the ball came out on the Hartpury side and the home side scrambled the ball clear once again to frustrate the Blues.

Things swung back in the hosts favour when Ben Vellacott saw space open up and the Gloucester scrum half hurtled forward, but the Blues defence gathered well and earned a penalty close to their own try line and cleared.

The breakthrough in the game came just after the half hour mark when the Blues were reduced to 14 when Toby Trinder was yellow carded for a cynical offside. The ball was sent to touch five metres from the BLues line with the resulting lineout drive going over the line with hooker Will Tanner scoring and Sam Leeming adding the extras.

Bedford didn’t seem too phased by the setback though and despite being a man down, they were back in the game just before half-time. Hooley sent a penalty to the corner before Hartpury infringed two more times which resulted in Joe Batley being carded. On the third time of asking, the Blues maul kicked into gear with Charlie Clare sliding over the line but the conversion drifted wide.

All of the Blues hard work was undone two minutes after the interval as Vellacott showed his Premiership class to carve open the Bedford defence before passing out to Sam Graham who scored with Leeming converting once more.

But Bedford weren’t going to mope around for too long and they reduced the deficit to two points once again in the 46th minute when Jarad Williams spotted space and darted through to score before converting his own effort.

Things didn’t stay that way for long though as Hartpury crossed for a third try of the afternoon. Leeming sent a superb kick to the Blues five metre line and from the resulting lineout Akapusi Qera crashed over and Leeming converted to make it 21-12.

A penalty went Bedford’s way in the 54th minute and Hooley sent it to the corner for an attacking opportunity. The Blues pack worked hard over a series of phases before Clare scored his second of the afternoon and Hooley slotted the extras to make it a two point game once again.

Hartpury had the chance to score a fourth in the 65th minute following a fine Batley break before a penalty went to touch but the Blues defence was solid and they won a penalty to avert the danger and clear their lines.

But back came Hartpury as a penalty was sent to the corner by Leeming and the try bonus was secured when the lineout drive did its job and Tanner crossed for the score before Leeming converted to extend the home sides lead to 28-19.

For the lack of scores in the opening half, the second 40 made up for it as the Blues crossed for their fourth in the 76th minute as Dean Adamson made it 28-26 with Hooley’s conversion. 

There was still time for late drama as Hartpury failed to secure touch to end the game and back came Bedford who managed to get into drop goal range but Hooley's effort was just off target meaning the hosts moved off the bottom of the table.

Hartpury: 15. Mike Wilcox, 14. Ben Foley, 13. Charlie Powell, 12. Jack Tovey, 11. Tom Seabrook, 10. Sam Leeming, 9. Ben Vellacott; 1. Dan Murphy, 2. Will Tanner, 3. Rupert Harden, 4. Joe Batley, 5. Simon Linsell (c), 6. Alex Craig, 7. Akapusi Qera, 8. Sam Graham

Replacements: 16. Luke Stratford, 17. Des Merrey, 18. Alex Gibson, 19. Iain Grieve, 20. Rob Langley, 21. Henry Purdy, 22. Harry Cochrane

Bedford Blues: 15. Rich Lane, 14. Ryan Hutler, 13. Ed Coulson, 12. Dom Morris, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Will Hooley, 9. Lee Dickson (c); 1. Toby Trinder, 2. Charlie Clare, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Will Carrick-Smith, 5. Mark Flanagan, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Josh Buggea, 8. Jarad Williams

Replacements: 16. Jacob Fields, 17. Sean McCarthy, 18. Hayden King, 19. Oli Curry, 20. Huw Worthington, 21. James Lennon, 22. Harry Sheppard

Referee: Adam Leal

Next Home Match

Saturday 27th April
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

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