MATCH REPORT V YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE

Bedford Blues put in one of their most comprehensive displays of the season to overcome a tough Yorkshire Carnegie side 41-22 at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.

At 9am in the morning, over 100 dedicated fans, players, coaches and the club chairman, descended on the ground to start shovelling, sweeping and wheelbarrowing tonnes of snow from the playing surface so that the game could take place. And it proved to be well worthwhile as the Blues ran in six tries in the bonus point win over Carnegie who fought valiantly throughout.

Following an impeccable minute's silence ahead of kick-off in memory of Doncaster Knights prop Ian Williams, the game kicked off at a high intensity as soon as the ball left Will Hooley’s boot. Bedford attacked and looked to find gaps in the Carnegie defence, but the Yorkshire men were in no mood to give way and disrupted the attack well.

Things changed in the fourth minute of the game though as the Blues were awarded a penalty which went to touch and then dominated possession from the lineout. Lee Dickson was directing traffic masterfully with Will Carrick-Smith, Williams and Ben Cooper all carrying the ball into contact before space freed up for Elliot Clements-Hill to play in Mike Le Bourgeois for the opening try which Hooley converted.

The game then experienced a near ten-minute delay when Buggea took a heavy knock as Carnegie looked for an immediate response and after the flanker received treatment on the pitch he was stretchered off with Huw Worthington replacing him (we’re pleased to say that Buggea is fine and was back to watch the second half).

Carnegie enjoyed a large stint of possession and despite failing to score a try from their lineout-maul, they did convert a penalty when the Blues were caught offside.

But Bedford fired back in impressive fashion with two quick tries. Alex Rae and Jordan Onojaife were combining well to make ground before a ruck formed midway inside the Carnegie half when suddenly, Howard Packman saw a gap and hurtled through it to score. Five minutes later and another flowing move from Bedford saw Dickson, Hooley, Dean Adamson and Hutchinson combine to play in Carrick-Smith who had positioned himself out on the left wing. Both tries – from wide on each wing – went unconverted.

The visitors then piled on the pressure as they looked for a way back in. Bedford fought tooth and nail to repel the ongoing assault and were reasonably successful with stopping mauls, intercepting passes and winning scrums against the head, but Carnegie got their reward when Callum Irvine sent a delightful grubber through the Blues defence which Andrew Forsyth controlled and then dived on to score with Will Homer adding the extras.

There was plenty of time for the Blues to go on the attack, and after turning over a second Carnegie scrum, the Blues sent the ball out wide with Adamson looking to send a grubber of his own through for Clement-Hill to chase, but Carnegie covered and the half came to an end 17-10.

The Blues got off to the worse possible start to the second half as the visitors levelled the scores within a minute. Richard Beck showed fantastic feet to wrong-step the Bedford defence before offloading to the supporting Forsyth who, on falling just shy of the line, popped the ball to Stevie McColl to score with Homer converting.

It turned out to be a minor setback though as Bedford once again found their feet and went on the attack. Sean McCarthy, Tom Lindsay and Worthington were crashing into everything while Hooley pinned the visitors back with some smart kicking. A penalty was converted to make it 20-17 before Bedford got the all-important bonus point try on the hour mark. Bedford were mean in possession and strung two ten-plus phase attacks together but came away empty handed as Yorkshire defended superbly. But a final attack saw Dickson, Rae, Hutchinson and Worthington firing forward before Adamson came off his wing and into the attack to play in Packman for his second of the game which Hooley converted brilliantly.

Changes followed for both teams, but Bedford maintained the momentum and scored another try soon afterwards. Adamson was left a lot of room on the left and with the defence heading his way, he chipped the ball ahead. It looked as if Carnegie had it covered, but the ball bounced in Adamson’s favour and he collected to score with Hooley converting once again to make it 34-17.

The Blues faithful were in full voice, but Carnegie weren’t done and they went straight on the attack to score their third try as Jack Whetton forced his way over from close range but McColl’s conversion went astray.

But it was to be Bedford’s afternoon and they scored an impressive sixth try as the ground clock hit 80. Replacements Jacob Fields, Alex Penny, and Ed Taylor made sure the Blues were solid in the scrum before Dickson and Hooley combined to play in Le Bourgeois who powered over for his second. The conversion was delayed while handbags were exchanged (and Onojaife lost his shirt), but Hooley composed himself to fire the ball over the bar.

There was almost an icing on the cake moment deep in stoppage time when Williams galloped 30 odd metres up the pitch and then released Jordan Burns, but as the scrum half attempted to pass inside to the Blues support, the ball was pinched by Carnegie and the game soon ended.

The Blues return to action in two weeks when they travel to Lady Bay to face Nottingham for the fourth time this campaign.

COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

See more of Nigel Rudgard's pictures at pictures http://frontrow.photium.com/rugby

Next Home Match

Wednesday 26th December
1st XV
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
3.00pm

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