It was a case of Friday night delights for Bedford Blues as they rediscovered winning ways with a 15-10 victory over Yorkshire Carnegie.

Tries from Darryl Veenendaal and Jim Wigglesworth helped the Blues to victory, but a lot of credit has to go to the forwards who gave their backs a great platform on which to work.

Things hadn’t looked great for the hosts as the game got underway under the floodlights when captain Nick Fenton-Wells was taken off injured after just six minutes. With the forwards re-organising themselves, Carnegie spotted a gap on the left wing and David Doherty was able to outpace the covering defence to score in the corner with Harry Leonard converting well from the touchline.

The big up-and-under was in full effect for both teams due to the greasy pitch and slippery ball but it was Bedford who made the full use of it picking up numerous knock-ons from the visitors. The Blues continued to put pressure on Carnegie by pinning them back in their 22 with some very smart grubber kicks and when the visitors took the ball into touch, Bedford pounced.

The lineout functioned well with the Blues plucking the ball cleanly before trundling towards the try line. Carnegie illegally brought  down the maul but with the penalty advantage, Veenendaal spotted the smallest of gaps and scurried over in true rat-like fashion. Sadly, Sharp couldn’t add the extras from the right flank but the Blues had the bit between their teeth.

Bedford continued to provide the attacking threat as they played up the slope but Carnegie defended well and often broke at pace through the likes of Doherty and the ever-influential Rob Vickerman. It looked like the visitors should have scored on two occasions in the first half but good cover defence from Dean Adamson and then Veenendaal prevented both attacks. Leonard had the chance to slot a penalty in the 34th minute but his effort drifted wide of the sticks.

Carnegie were on the front foot with five minutes to go as they punted a penalty into the Blues 22 but as they put together a driving maul, the assistant referee spotted foul play form Matt Smith which resulted in him being carded and Bedford kicking to touch. Joe Vandermolen had to go off with an injury but the Blues continued to work their way up the field and when the referee awarded another penalty on the stroke of half time, Sharp made no mistake to give the hosts the halftime advantage.

Bedford continued to bully Carnegie after the break with Charlie Clare causing mischief before Viliami Hakalo put in a huge hit on Leonard to well and truly knock the stuffing out of him.

The Blues got the all important second try in the 50th minute through another well-worked lineout. Clare found Gulliver – who had replaced Vandermolen – and the big boys trundled forward again. Carnegie again brought the maul down so Paul Tupai broke and set up a ruck with Veenendaal feeding Sharp who in turn found Wigglesworth and the speedy full back showed a fine sidestep to dot down under the posts. Sharp’s easy conversion made it 15-10.

Carnegie struggled to find much territory in the second half and showed rare glimpses of the pace that had been a worry in the opening 40. Sharp had the chance to extend Bedford’s lead in the 61st minute but his penalty was wide of the sticks.

A series of changes for both sides took some of the wind out of the sails but Bedford continued to dominate the forward battle and didn’t give their opposition much ground to work with.

Carnegie patience did pay off though and they took home a losing bonus point when Leonard converted a penalty on the final whistle.

The Blues will be hoping to put in a similar performance next weekend when they make a second trip down to Penzance to face the Cornish Pirates.


For more of Nigel Rudgard's match day pictures, visit

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road