London Irish v Bedford Blues

Sunday, 23 September, 2018 - 15:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 29-20

Bedford put in a monumental shift against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday afternoon but the former Premiership side had enough in the tank to deny the Blues a point of any sort.

Strong defence was the order of the day for both sides, but a couple of silly decisions resulted in tries for the Exiles and despite a red card and two yellows for the hosts, they held on for the win.

Bedford were forced into defence very early on when a penalty in the second minute sailed into touch. Irish collected the lineout, but Bedford got stuck in and Oli Curry came away with the ball and the Blues cleared down the left.

The visitors continued to push and a succession of kicks pinned the Blues back and they couldn’t find much headway but the defence was looking solid as Jacob Field then Lewis Robling put in good hits on the opposition.

It took until the 17th minute for the first try and it came following a clearance kick from the Blues. Irish fullback Tom Parton made a superb run into the Bedford 22 with his forwards backing him up. Phases followed before the ball came to Stephen Myler who grubbered the ball through and Parton was there to score the unconverted try.

The hosts were in the ascendancy and looking to bulldoze their way through the Blues defence, but they withstood a huge amount of pressure before Irish did cross for a second time in the 24th minute. A loose lineout throw from the Blues saw TJ Ioane come away with the ball before it found the hands of Myler who arched his run superbly to score and then convert his own effort.

Three minutes later and it looked like the hosts were going to run away with it as they scored their third of the afternoon. Some deft hands from scrum half Ben Meehan and Ioane saw another Myler grub finding Parton who dived across for the score with Myler adding the extras to make it 19-0.

But Bedford weren’t out of it and they got a little bit of ‘luck of the Irish’ as the restart bounced out of the arms of the intended catcher. Bedford’s scrum worked well before wave after wave of attacks followed. Josh Buggea, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo and Jacob Fields all surged forward before London Irish coughed up a penalty. Rich Lane sent the ball to touch and from the resulting lineout, the pack - with a little help from the backs - rumbled over with Jarad Williams claiming the try which went unconverted.

Bedford were playing with more vigour and pressing the attack with Jamie Elliott, Harry Davies and Ed Taylor all pushing forward with James Lennon pulling the strings, but Irish managed to scramble back and turn defence into attack as the half headed to its conclusion.

London Irish attacked well but Bedford were resilient as Ben Cooper, Williams and Buggea threw themselves into tackles and the attack fizzled out as the hosts knocked on just outside the Blues 22.

The second half was barely two minutes old when a significant delay took place as Parilli-Ocampo picked up a nasty looking knock at a ruck. Both teams headed back into the changing rooms as medics took care of the Blues prop.

The game restarted with two Blues changes - Sean McCarthy for the injured Parilli-Ocampo and Alex Penny for Ben Cooper - and a scrum but the hosts soon won possession back following a knock on and looked to attack with some bomb like kicking but Bedford went on the attack thanks to a fine Lane run but Irish covered and averted any danger.

Bedford continued to press and got the scoreboard rolling as Ed Coulson converted a penalty, but back came Irish as a penalty of their own was fired deep in the Blues 22 with the maul rolling over the line and Dave Porecki claiming the score which went unconverted.

Back came the Blues as they mounted more attacks and won more penalties but then kicked out of the dead ball to hand Irish a 22 drop out. What happened next was horrible… The 22 dropout was a huge one and ended up on the Blues five metre line. Lane was there, but his clearance kick shanked horribly and went straight to Tom Stephenson who couldn’t believe his luck as he ran a few yards to score and make it 29-8.

Bedford didn’t let their heads drop and picked up a series of penalties which saw Irish number 8 Matt Rogerson carded. As Bedford got nearer the Irish line, they opted for the scrum with Williams gliding over from five metres out for his second to make it 29-13.

The Blues could sense the tide turning and immediately pushed for more points. The scrum was making a huge impact as the changes had the desired effect and Irish were down to 14 once more as Harry Elrington was carded.

Bedford immediately looked to turn the screw as teh attacked down the left from a lineout then cut inside with Penny charging forward only to be taken out by the shoulder of Ioane to the chin. The referee consulted both his assistants and then showed the flanker the red card.

Coulson went to the corner and a barrage of attacks and penalties followed before Oli Curry stretched over the line to score in the 80th minute and Coulson coolly slotted the conversion with drop kick to make it 29-20.

The visitors looked to build one final attack with the backs turning on the gas, but as Lennon streaked down the left wing, he was caught and bundled into touch much to the relief of the home fans.

London Irish: 15. Tom Parton, 14. Topsy Ojo, 13. Brendan Macken, 12. Tom Stephenson (Bryce Campbell 64), 11. Luke McLean, 10. Stephen Myler, 9. Ben Meehan (Scott Steele 75); 1. Gordon Reid (Harry Elrington 52), 2. Dave Porecki (Saia Fainga’a 60), 3. Patric Cilliers (Ollie Hoskins 60), 4. Barney Maddison (Blair Cowan 64), 5. Teofilo Paulo, 6. Josh McNally (c), 7. TJ Ioane, 8. Matt Rogerson (Jake Schatz 70)

Scorers: Tries; Parton (2), Myler, Porecki, Stephenson. Con; Myler (2)

Bedford Blues: 15. Rich Lane, 14. Harry Davies (Lennon 78 HIA), 13. Jamie Elliott, 12. Lewis Robling (Joe Green 70), 11. Ryan Hutler, 10. Ed Coulson, 9. James Lennon (Lee Dickson 48); 1. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (Sean McCarthy 42), 2. Jacob Fields (Charlie Clare 52), 3. Ben Cooper (Alex Penny 42, Cooper 74 HIA), 4. Ed Taylor © (Will Carrick-Smith 48), 5. Oli Curry, 6. Alex Rae, 7. Josh Buggea (Jack Nay 60), 8. Jarad Williams.

Scorers: Tries; Rae, Williams, Curry. Con; Coulson. Pen; Coulson.

Next Home Match

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

Partners

Photography

See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at

frontrow.photium.com