A hat-trick from Mat Gilbert helped Worcester Warriors to a 42-12 victory over Bedford Blues at Sixways on Friday night writes Ryan Lewis of the Bedford Times & Citizen.

Worcester, who have not lost since an opening day defeat to Bristol, took an early control of the game and never really looked in danger of losing to a Bedford side who were resilient in defeat.

The Blues scored two excellent tries through Joe Vandermolen and Dean Adamson but they weren’t enough for a Bedford side who, despite the scoreline, matched their opponents throughout, but were unable to stop a Worcester attacking juggernaut that was relentless in finding points when it hit the right gear.

Bedford got off to the worst possible start, as they conceded two tries in the opening 12 minutes.

Ryan Lamb was looking to kick his side into the corner and it was a cross-field punt that led to the hosts’ first try after four minutes.

Ben Howard was waiting on the left wing for Lamb’s kick, but good defence from Pat Tapley and Jim Wigglesworth forced him to rethink and he offloaded to former Bath man Tom Biggs who ran in to score in the corner.

The Warriors’ second try was one from the forwards, as a number of penalties offered the hosts a lineout just five metres from the Blues try line. The resulting drive saw Mat Gilbert grounding the ball to the delight of the crowd. Lamb converted both conversions and the score was 14-0 to Worcester.

Bedford, despite their slow start, showed great character and resilience in the opening 40 minutes to fight their way back into the game and it was they who scored the only other points in the opening half.

A powerful burst in midfield from Tonga international centre Viliami Hakalo allowed good go-forward ball for the Blues, and they were clinical from the resulting play.

Darryl Veenendaal spotted a gap round the side of a ruck and cleverly ran straight through it, as a result the Warriors defence scrambled together only to tap tackle him just before the line.

The scrum-half though managed to offload the ball before he hit the deck to Joe Vandermolen, with the back-row forward diving over the line to score an easy try.

The Blues played well in the first half and trailed by just nine points at the break, but like the first period, the visitors started the second half slowly.

With Bedford down to 14 players following a yellow card to Paul Tupai before the break, Worcester capitalised by scoring their third try within a minute of the restart.

A strong break through the midfield by prop forward Mike Daniels meant the home side had more numbers out wide, and an exchange of passes by Ben Howard, Max Stelling and Daniels allowed captain GJ Van Velze the opportunity to dive over – Lamb again converted.

Worcester then secured the bonus point in the 57th minute when Howard, whose pace from full-back was a threat throughout, split the defence before passing out wide to Stelling who slid in at the corner. Lamb's fourth conversion made it 28-5.

It was almost deja vu shortly afterwards as Gilbert got his second score after another lineout drive and Lamb once again added the extras.

The Blues battled until the very end and a lovely show and go by Jake Sharp almost allowed Peter White an opportunity to score but, cynically, Howard slapped the pass to the floor and was sent to the bin.

Worcester, as a result, played the last 10 minutes with just 14 men, but they managed to score their sixth try after 77 minutes.

Warriors were camped on the Bedford line and it looked like the Blues’ defence would stand strong after preventing phase after phase of attacks, but eventually the hosts scored when Gilbert bundled his way over from close range to score under the posts and ensure the hosts passed the 40 points mark.

Bedford kept playing though, and they scored their second try with the last play of the match. Ollie Dodge punctured his way through the defence before passing to Dean Adamson to slide over in the corner and keep up his good try scoring form for the Blues in his first season for the club.

However Adamson’s try was no more than a consolation and Mike Rayer’s side will hope to bounce back when they host Yorkshire Carnegie at Goldington Road on Friday night, in what will be their first home match in four weeks.

Worcester Warriors: Val Rapava Ruskin (Ben Sowrey 57), Dan George (Ryan Bower 57), Mike Daniels (Joe Rees 65), Mike Williams, Darren O’Shea, Matt Cox, Mat Gilbert, GJ Van Velze (c), Charlie Mulchrone (Jonny Arr 48), Ryan Lamb (Ignacio Mieres 62), Tom Biggs, Ryan Mills (Andy Symons 62), Max Stelling, Sam Smith, Ben Howard.

Replacement not used: James Percival.

T: Mat Gilbert x3, Tom Biggs, GJ Van Velze, Max Stelling C: Ryan Lamb x5, Ignacio Mieres

Bedford Blues: Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (Charlie Clare 52), Jared Saunders (Tom Williams 52), Phil Boulton, Mike Howard (Ben Gulliver 62), Paul Tupai, Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea (Nick Fenton-Wells 52), Joe Vandermolen; Darryl Veenendaal (Peter White 68), Jake Sharp, Dean Adamson, Viliami Hakalo, Ollie Dodge, Pat Tapley (Darrell Dyer 68), Jim Wigglesworth (Steffan Jones 46).

T: Joe Vandermolen, Dean Adamson C: Jake Sharp.

Attendance: 5,854.

Referee: Steve Lee.

Assistant Referees: Matthew O’Grady and Jonathan Healy.

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road