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Match Report v Ealing Trailfinders

Posted: 25th October 2019

Frustration was the word of the night as the Blues went down 5-18 to Ealing Trailfinders under the Friday Night Lights at Goldington Road.

While the Blues defensive display was vastly improved since the two teams met a month ago, too many penalties gave the upper hand to the visitors who crashed over twice from lineout mauls while Ryan Hutler finished off a good scrum move for Bedford.

“We gifted them a lot tonight and ultimately they took their chances,” said Blues centre Ed Coulson after the game. “Although the conditions weren’t great, we were right with them at half time, so it was certainly a frustrating result.

“Defensively we were pretty good but it was soft penalties that killed us. They led to two opportunities which they took from driving mauls. We knew they were going to play in a physical, direct game and we defended that well.

“I think that last week was one of the best training weeks that we’ve had, we were really disappointed with the result last week against Coventry and we wanted to come back strong. We’ve got to take the positives and use this as a platform for the trip up to Doncaster next weekend.”

With swirling winds and torrential drizzle, it didn’t look like this was going to be the greatest of nights and things didn’t exactly get off to a bright start for the Blues. Three penalties in as many minutes gave Ealing a perfect platform and their lineout maul did the job with Matt Cornish coming up with the ball which Craig Willis converted.

Thankfully heads didn’t drop and the zblues fired back with some quality defensive work as Josh Buggea, Robbie Smith and Joe Wrafter crashed into tackles before Joe Atkinson stripped the ball in the Ealing 22 to give Bedford an attacking opportunity which sadly came to nothing.

It was certainly the night to deploy the big up and under kick with Pat Tapley and Rich Lane both being tested by Ealing bombs, but both handled well despite the conditions.  The visitors had an attacking lineout but it went too far over and Henry Paul came away with it and made yards before Alex Day cleared brilliantly.

A knock on by Ealing gave Bedford a scrum midway in the opposition’s half and it led to a try as Dan Temm broke and Day found Ryan Hutler with a long pass which the youngster collected before heading over the line for an unconverted score.

Ed Coulson came out on top of a game of aerial ping pong but Ealing were able to extend their lead in the 26th minute when an offside allowed Willis to send the penalty over the uprights.

Bedford attacked from a scrum when Ealing knocked on at the restart and a penalty set up a lineout five metres out. Bedford secured the ball but the lightning quick defence forced a turnover and the danger was averted.

With three minutes left in the half, Ealing struck again with a repeat of the opening try. A penalty lineout led to a driving maul and Cornish crashed over again but his score went unconverted.

Beford had the opportunity to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half-time but Coulson’s penalty attempt struck the post and bounced clear.

The second half was much of the same with both defences cancelling one another out. The Blues lineout maul defence turned it up a notch with Jordan Onojaife and Oli Curry causing havoc while Day looked to release the backs whenever possible and Fraser Strachan crashing through.

However, Ealing were starting to dominate the scrum with penalties going their way on regular intervals and then Josh Buggea fell foul of the referee as his patience was tested and the flanker was sent to the bin.

Credit to Bedford, they tightened up and didn’t look in too much danger bar one attack down the right which Hutler had covered.

Bedford utilised their bench while Ealing were happy to make necessary changes before Willis added a 69th minute penalty to extend the visitor’s lead to 5-18.

The Blues weren’t letting their heads drop and Lane got the crowd going with a quick free kick before Temm took over and made yards. Grayson Hart pulled the strings with Devante Onojaife introducing himself to the Ealing defence before a big kick sent Trailfinders deep into their 22.

Sadly, the Blues couldn’t take in a final lineout five metres from the line and Ealing stuck the ball up their jersey to see the game out.



15. Rich Lane, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Ed Coulson, 12. Fraser Strachan, 11. Ryan Hutler, 10. Lewis Robling, 9. Alex Day; 1. Joe Wrafter, 2. Robbie Smith, 3. Henry Paul, 4. Jordan Onojaife, 5. Oli Curry, 6. Josh Buggea, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Dan Temm (capt).


16. Michael Van Vuuren, 17. Sean McCarthy, 18. Andrew Boye, 19. Ed Taylor, 20. Devante Onojaife, 21. Grayson Hart, 22. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 23. Charlie Reed


15. Tommy Bell, 14. James Cordy Redden, 13. David Johnston, 12. Harry Sloan, 11. Reon Joseph, 10. Craig Willis, 9. Craig Hampson; 1. Will Davis, 2. Matt Cornish, 3. Elliot Millar Mills, 4. Dave McKern, 5.Ben West, 6. Kieran Murphy, 7. Jordy Reid, 8. Rayn Smid (capt).


16. Alun Walker, 17. Jake Ellwood, 18. Craig Trenier, 19. Sam Dickinson, 20. Andrew Durutalo, 21. Jordan Burns, 22. Peter Lydon, 23. Lewis Jones.


Greg MacDonald



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