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Match Report v Coventry

Posted: 7th December 2019

Bedford Blues chances of heading into the knockout stages of the Championship Cup came to a halt on Saturday afternoon as they were defeated 12-37 by Coventry at Goldington Road.

Despite a vast improvement in the performance from last weekend’s mauling by Ealing Trailfinders, the Blues were undone by two intercept tries in the first half which they never really recovered from. James Lennon and Charlie Reed got their names on the scoresheet for Bedford, but Coventry had already secured their spot in the quarter-final.

Heading down the slope in the opening half, the Blues looked to build an attack early on as Coventry knocked on from the start but the visitors defence stayed solid and would allow any leaks.

The ball was soon heading up the field with Coventry looking to score and they arguably would have done had Pat Tapley not pulled a player back off the ball, something that earned him ten minutes in the sin bin.

Coventry struck almost immediately as the penalty went to touch and the ball was regathered setting up an attack which was finished off but Henry Purdy but the conversion went wide.

Apart from that blip, the Blues defence tightened up and they held firm as Cov looked to exploit the extra man. With ball in hand, Bedford went on the attack with Grayson Hart looking to release Fraser Strachan, Joe Green and Ryan Hutler but they just couldn’t squeeze through the gaps.

Back to a full complement, the Blues continued to press but for me Bedford man Pete White read the move perfectly and intercepted a pass before racing 70 metres to score despite a decent effort from Matt Worley to get back.

Coventry started to turn the screw, but the Bedford defence was fighting tooth and nail to keep the visitors at bay and they did a brilliant job before going on the attack. Unfortunately though, another long pass was plucked out of the air by Max Trimble and he ran clear to score with Rory Jennings adding the extras to make it 0-17 at the interval.

Bedford started the second half brightly and really took the game to their opponents with Sean McCArthy, Jacob Fields and Henry Paul all carrying well while Jordan Onojaife and Will Carrick Smith battered anything ahead of them. Storming runs from Joe Atkinson, Josh Buggea and Oli Curry made ground but Coventry tightened up in defence and repelled the Blues attack.

The Blues backs were beginning to click and only a last second ankle tackle from Ben Adams prevented Tapley going over in the 45th minute following a superb break from Ryan Hutler who had Joe Green in support.

The crowd were lifted by the surge in play and the Blues continued the offensive with wave after wave of pick and go rugby as replacements Robbie Smith, Karl Garside, Ed Taylor and Alafoti Fa’osiliva got in on the action before James Lennon sniped over from close range to make it 5-17 just after the hour mark.

Coventry replied with a Jennings penalty five minutes later to lengthen their lead before David Halaifonua played in Max Trimble for his second of the game with five minutes on the clock with Will Maisey converting. Maisey then added a penalty and a second conversion after Purdy crossed late on.

The last action of the game saw Reed score for the Blues following a quick tap and go from Lennon before Hooley floated a pass out to the wing. The American international then converted the score as the ref blew the final whistle.

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