A late flourish from patched-up Bedford wasn’t enough to claim a losing bonus point as they succumbed to a comprehensive 41-21 defeat at Nottingham tonight.

With this re-arranged midweek fixture coming so soon after the Blues’ B&I Cup semi-final defeat, depleted Bedford fought back valiantly late on with tries from Chris Czekaj, Jacob Fields and Elliot Clement-Hill, who also converted all three, but by that time the damage had already been done by the Green and Whites who ran in six tries on the night.

The hosts got off to the ideal start as they snatched the lead after just two minutes when they spread the ball wide and Sean Scanlon’s pass put William Robinson sliding in at the corner, despite the best efforts of Bedford’s defence with Gearoid Lyons adding a brilliant touchline conversion.

Bedford looked in when they turned over a scrum on eight minutes, but a brilliant covering tackle put pacey scrum-half Jordan Burns into touch as he broke down the touchline.

Phase-after-phase and wave-after-wave of Bedford attacks were soaked up by the Green and Whites’ impenetrable defence as Ryan Hutler was just beaten to Harry Shappard’s 14th-minute grubber kick.

In response, the hosts stretched their lead further with their second try midway through the half when Scanlon’s clever kick through dissected the Bedford backline and Robinson raced through to touch down in the same position as his first as Lyons again brilliantly converted, this time with the help of a post.

A sustained spell of pressure from the hosts yielded a Lyons penalty on 28 minutes, while Sheppard then came off worse from a crunching tackle and had to be stretchered from the field as he was replaced by Rory Hutchinson.

His impact was immediate with a great interception, but Bedford failed to capitalise and approaching half time Vili Hakalo romped over the line and Lyons converted to make it 24-0.

Bedford were then left with a mountain to climb when Nottingham grabbed their fourth and bonus point try on the cusp of half time through Will Millett, but Lyons’ conversion drifted wide as the home side led 29-0 at the interval.

The Green and Whites’ dominance continued after the break as Murray McConnell found a way through before Jack Nay’s tackle resulted in him being sin-binned.

A massive catch-and-drive move laid the basis for Bedford’s first score as Czekaj forced his way over on 56 minutes with Clement-Hill adding the extras to make it 34-7.

A series of questionable decisions prevented the Blues from gaining a foothold in the game and it was from one of these that Antonio Harris was able to burst through with 12 minutes to go, with Lyons again on target.

Bedford grabbed their second with eight minutes to go when Jacob Fields was driven over and Clement-Hill drilled through another impressive conversion to make it 41-14.

The visitors’ late flourish continued when Burns’ pass put Clement-Hill in at the corner for Bedford’s third with two minutes to go, with the winger superbly drop-kicking the extras. However, Nottingham saw out the remaining moments without any more scares to deny the Blues a losing bonus point.
Nottingham:Sean Scanlon, Jack Spittle, Will Millett, Vili Hakalo (Joe Cobden 69), William Robinson, Gearoid Lyons, Murray McConnell (Darryl Veenendaal 69), Tom West (Aniseko Sio 60), Jacob Farnworth (Antonio Harris 60), Ben Hooper (James Hall 61), Tim Cardall, Ben Morris (C) (Seb Cecil 56), Shane Buckley, Jordan Coghlan, Josh Poullet (Matt Everard 56).

T: Robinson 2, 21; Hakalo 40+9; Millett 40+11, McConnell 46; Harris 68. C: Lyons 3, 22, 40+10, 68. P: Lyons 28

Bedford: Matt Gallagher, Elliot Clement-Hill, Rotimi Segun, Chris Czekaj, Ryan Hutler, Harry Sheppard (Rory Hutchinson 36), Jordan Burns, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (Ralph Adams-Hales 41), George Edgson ((Jacob Fields 47), Alex Penny (Dave Spelman 47), Ed Taylor, Paul Tupai (Jordan Onojaife 60), Jack Nay, Josh Buggea (Huw Worthington 60), Ben Adams. Replacements not used: Lee Dickson. 

T: Czekaj 56; Fields 72; Clement-Hill 78. C: Clement-Hill 56, 73, 78.

Sin-binned: Nay 51.

Referee: Neil Chivers.
Assistant Referees: John Meredith and Greg Garner.

Pictures courtesy of Chud Photography

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road