London Welsh v Bedford Blues
Bedford Blues put in a huge performance at Old Deer Park on Saturday afternoon to pick up a valuable bonus point win over an in-form London Welsh.
The turnaround in the performance from the disappointing outing against Nottingham a fortnight ago was clear for all to see as the Blues fought valiantly from start to finish and crossed the whitewash four times including twice in the final two minutes of the game.
The Blues, who made six changes to the side that lost at home to Nottingham, opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a superb try when Dean Adamson made an excellent break following a clearance from Ryan Glynn. The winger sliced through the Exiles defence before George Perkins and Justin Blanchet combined to play in Will Carrick-Smith who went over in the corner. Myles Dorrian then slotted the conversion from out wide and Bedford’s travelling support roared in appreciation.
Five minutes and the Blues inched further ahead with a Dorrian penalty. Bedford won a free kick from a scrum before a penalty followed. Dorrian sent the ball to touch and as Bedford went on the attack form the lineout, the home side infringed again and Dorrian chipped the ball over from in front of the posts.
London Welsh kicked into gear soon afterwards and their pack was certainly on top at the scrum and won a series of penalties close to the Blues try line. They opted to scrum each time and on the third attempt the pack rumbled over with number eight Kieran Murphy falling on the ball but Ryan Glynn’s conversion attempt hit the post in the 15th minute.
Bedford had to soak up a lot of pressure over the next quarter of an hour and a forward pass let them off the hook, but Welsh went over for a second try on the 30 minute mark. Martyn Phillips made a good break before patient build-up resulted in Glyn Hughes and Seb Jewell linking up to send Kieran Phillips over for his seventh try of the campaign. Hughes converted to make it 12-10.
The Blues looked certain to score in the 38th minute when Dorrian spotted Perkins free on the wing and chipped the ball into his hands but Phillips made the tackle. Perkins did well to get the ball to the supporting Piers O’Conor, but Glynn somehow managed to get himself under the fullback and rolled him out of the dead zone.
But Bedford dug deep and managed to go ahead on the stroke of half time. London Welsh were on the attack but as Glynn looked to spread the ball wide, Mike Le Bourgeois intercepted the pass and released Perkins to hurtle over the line. This time, Dorrian’s conversion hit the post but the Blues went in with their noses ahead 12-15.
The hosts came out in a determined mood after the interval and had an early attacking lineout following a penalty. Thankfully for the Blues, Nathan Morris’s attempted put-in seemed to slip from his grasp and Bedford were able to gather and clear.
However, Morris had the last laugh as the ball was soon out to touch on the other side of the field and this time the hooker found his man, controlled the driving maul and was at the back to dot down with Hughes adding the extras.
Bedford were still having to defend but they managed to narrow the Exiles lead to a point in the 58th minute when Dorrian converted a penalty with a well struck effort.
Back came London Welsh who were then awarded a penalty of their own just a metre from the Blues line. Replacement Joe Carlisle stepped up and made it 22-18.
Play moved back to the other end and replacement Jake Sharp slotted two penalties in the 70th and 72nd minute to Move Bedford 22-24 ahead. The second penalty resulted in Welsh winger Miles Mantella being carded for a high tackle on Jordan Burns.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, London Welsh’s impressive scrum did the business again to earn a penalty and Carlisle slotted it to make it a one point game once more.
Bedford had lost their last two games by two points and a single point, but that wasn’t to be the case as they ran in two late tries to secure a bonus point victory.
In the 78th minute, Bedford secured lineout ball before attacking along the wing. The ruck formed and Paul Tupai picked up the ball and burst away before drawing the final man and popping the ball to the waiting Burns to score under the posts and Sharp converted.
Bedford then put the icing on top of the cake with the final play of the game. The Exiles knocked on the restart and from the resulting scrum, Burns showed an amazing turn of pace to break clear before sending Perkins in to score his second of the afternoon and Sharp converted to wrap things up 25-38.
London Welsh: 15. Martyn Thomas, 14. Kristian Phillips, 13. James Lewis, 12. Seb Jewell, 11. Miles Mantella, 10. Glyn Hughes, 9. Ryan Glynn, 1. Nathan Trevett, 2. Nathan Morris, 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Ben West, 5. Josh Thomas Brown, 6. Barney Maddison, 7. Ryan Hodson (C), 8. Kieran Murphy.
Replacements: 16. Adam Kwasnicki, 17. James Hallam, 18. Lovejoy Chawatama, 19. Ben Pienaar, 20. Rob Lewis, 21. Joe Carlisle, 22. Nick Reynolds.
Bedford Blues: 15. Piers O’Conor, 14. George Perkins, 13. Michael Le Bourgeois (C), 12. Tom Griffiths, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Myles Dorrian, 9. Tom Whiteley, 1. Jack Culverhouse, 2. Jacob Fields, 3. Christian Judge, 4. Ed Taylor, 5. Will Carrick-Smith, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Josh Buggea, 8. Ben Adams.
Replacements: 16. Dan George, 17. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 18. Mike Howard, 19. Paul Tupai, 20. Jason Hill, 21. Jordan Burns, 22. Jake Sharp.