For a second week in a row, Bedford Blues were undone by a last minute converted try to lose in the British & Irish Cup by a solitary point, this time to Welsh Principality side Cross Keys who won 22-23 on Ladies Day at Goldington Road.

The result was even more disappointing as the Blues were leading 19-3 after 16 minutes thanks to tries from Dean Adamson, James Pritchard and Nick Fenton-Wells, but the visitors from Wales fought back and kept on going until their skipper Leon Andrews crossed over the line two minutes into stoppage time before Dorian Jones coolly converted to seal the victory.

Cross Keys had got the scoreboard rolling in the third minute when the Blues gave away a penalty in front of the uprights giving Jones a simple kick. Bedford responded minutes later with a well worked try that started with the forwards building a good platform with the driving maul before scrum half Peter White fed Steffan Jones who then found centre Viliami Hakalo. With men outside of him, Hakalo sent a long pass to Adamson who collected well before stepping inside the final defender to score. Pritchard’s conversion looked wide and the crowd groaned, but the ball cut back and slotted over the posts with a terrific roar from the stand.

Debutant Darrell Dyer thought he had the chance for try number two almost immediately when he intercepted a forward pass with no one in front of him, but the ref blew his whistle and brought the play back for a scrum. 

Pritchard – who was making his 250th appearance in a Blues shirt this afternoon – then went on to score a try of his own on the second time of asking. White had opted for a quick tap-n-go penalty and linked up with Jones who burst up the field before sending Skippy through, but he slipped at the last moment allowing Cross Keys to regroup. Moments later though, White again played Jones into space and the fly half popped the ball to Pritchard to score on the right wing but he couldn’t convert his effort.

Things looked pretty positive in the 16th minute when Bedford went over for their third try. Jones had put pressure on his former team mates with a mighty boot up in the air before the Blues re-gathered the ball which went along the line to Fenton-Wells who bundled over with Pritchard adding the extras to make it 19-3.

Fair play to Cross Keys though, they didn’t dwell on things for too long and despite being out muscled in the scrum, they started putting plenty of phases together and put a lot of pressure on the Blues try line. Bedford managed to repel the attack for five minutes but then second row Dan Hodge showed an impressive sidestep before playing in Polo Uhi who had the gas to cross in the corner and reduce the score to 19-8.

As the game reached the 32nd minute, referee Stuart Gaffikin showed Dyer a yellow card when he was judged to have not released a tackle on the halfway line. Keys sent the ball to touch and then played a training ground move which saw an attack along the wing with Simon Williams coming up with the ball.

Cross Keys were certainly in the ascendency with the score at 19-13 and Jones played a cheeky chip over the top but the danger was spotted by Adamson who collected and then set up an attack with Pritchard in support before kicking deep into the visitors 22.

The second half was a proper tug-of-war with possession and territory swinging backwards and forwards with no one taking a real grip of proceedings. Bedford were again down to 14 in the 56th minute when the ref spotted Charlie Clare’s hands where they shouldn’t have been in a ruck and captain Fenton-Wells had to go off with a knock to his ankle.

Bedford defended well though and the visitors couldn’t make the extra man count this time but Pritchard did add a penalty to put the Blues nine points ahead. As the game drew to its conclusion, Dorian Jones added a penalty of his own to bring the visitors into bonus point territory and it looked like that would be that... But Cross Keys had other ideas.

With nothing to lose and both teams tiring, the Keys threw everything forward with wave after wave of attack and with momentum well and truly behind them, Andrews managed to leap over the line after spotting the smallest of gaps to make it 22-21 with the conversion to come.

Every Blues players charged towards the ball when Jones stepped up, but the 22 year old made no mistake and the visitors celebrated in style.

For more match day pictures from Nigel Rudgard click here

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road