MATCH REPORT V RICHMOND

Bedford Blues kicked off their Greene King IPA Championship campaign with a bonus point 7-36 win over Richmond on Saturday evening.

Seven months ago, on their last visit to Richmond Athletic Ground, Bedford were on the wrong end of a 49-26 score line which left the entire squad feeling, well, blue.

This time though, it was all smiles as a dominating attacking performance in the first half was complimented with a strong defensive display in the second to ensure that demons were banished and the Blues got off to the best possible start.

Bedford went into the interval leading 36-0 thanks to a brace of tries from Dean Adamson and one apiece for Ben Cooper, Howard Packman and Tom Lindsay. Although Richmond fired back early in the second half thanks to a converted Jason Phipps score, the Blues laid on a defensive clinic which ensured that they returned to Goldington Road with the maximum haul from their opening game.

It took Bedford just four minutes to get the score board rolling when the hosts were pinged for not rolling away and Will Hooley converted the penalty.

Two minutes later and it was 0-8 as another penalty went Bedford's way and Hooley sent the ball to the corner. Tom Lindsay found his man with the throw-in and Ben Cooper was on-hand to slam the ball down on the try line.

The Blues were certainly enjoying the London sunshine and a fine pitch as they ran in a second try in the 15th minute. Despite being under some pressure, the Blues managed to punt the ball long into Richmond's 22 for a lineout before the forwards did their thing before Dean Adamson's pace allowed him to run under the uprights giving Hooley a simple conversion.

Try number three came just a few minutes later as Howard Packman, who was in fine form during pre-season, continued his scoring habit with a well worked effort from the back of a driving maul which Hooley converted making it 0-22.

Richmond's cause wasn't helped when scrum half Luc Jones was carded on the half hour mark for intentionally knocking on the ball as Bedford attacked and the Blues made them suffer. The resulting penalty went to touch and, after the forwards secured possession, Lee Dickson and Michael Le Bourgeois linked up to play in Adamson who darted over with Hooley once again striking the conversion through the uprights.

With the half coming to an end, Richmond briefly went down to 13 as fullback Jordan Simpson-Hefft received a yellow card for the same infringement as Jones. Once again, Richmond were made to pay as Hooley sent the ball to touch, the lineout functioned perfectly, and the forwards drove over the line with Lindsay coming up with the ball which Hooley duly converted making it 0-36 at the break.

One can only imagine what was said in the home changing room during the break, but it had the desired effect as a more attacking Richmond emerged for the second half. Just two minutes in, and a comeback looked to be on the cards as Phipps managed to smuggle the ball over the try line and Freddie Gabbitass converted to cut the deficit to 29 points.

However, Bedford rolled up their sleeves and put on a defensive display that the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail would have been proud of (although no one, thankfully, lost any arms or legs).

Time and again Richmond went on the attack as they enjoyed the majority of possession, but Bedford weren't budging an inch. Led by Michael Le Bourgeois, and ably assisted by generals such as Alex Rae, Will Carrick-Smith, Ben Adams and Rich Lane, the defence stood firm and refused to be breached again.

As the final whistle blew, Bedford could briefly enjoy the moment but they know that they will have to put in another 21 huge performances starting at Goldington Road next weekend against London Scottish who, no doubt, stuck around to take in the game after their victory over Yorkshire Carnegie.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Next Home Match

Saturday 7th October
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

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