Bedford Blues – 10/01/2015

35Bedford Blues

29Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · January 10, 2015

Bedford Blues 35 v Doncaster Knights 29

The Knights made the trip to Goldington Road for the second time this season having enjoyed a successful visit in November in the British & Irish cup. Indeed the Knights had won both Cup encounters between the two sides this campaign but an unfortunate run of results in the league meant the Knights languished in 11th place and six points behind the Blues at kick off.

In sunny but chilly conditions the Knights quite made a strong start, Piers Francis started the game with a deep kick off but Donny soon won back possession. Playing down the infamous Goldington Road slope and with the wind at their back a strong opening forty minutes was essential for Hills, Challinor and Co. and they took the lead with just two minutes on the clock. Indiscipline at the breakdown by the hosts drew the game’s first penalty that Dougie Flockhart was all to happy to convert.

The reaction was almost instantaneous from Bedford, who flooded forward at the restart to drive Jon Phelan backwards and force a penalty for holding on. Fly half Jake Sharp kicked the initial penalty to the corner but solid defence by the Knights halted the maul of the Blues pack. The ball was spun infield and, having won penalty advantage, Sharp tried an audacious cross field kick to winger Pat Tapley. It was unsuccessful but play was recalled for the penalty and full back James Pritchard leveled the scores.

Possession and the upper hand were pretty evenly split between the two sides as the half progressed. Strong spells by the Knights were matched by threatening phases by the hosts and the set pieces seemed to, generally, go the way of the team in possession. Flockhart and Pritchard ensure the scoreboard continued to tick over and with half an hour played it was all square at 9-9.

It was at this point that the parity ended as the Knights enjoyed a fine final ten minutes of the half. Piers Francis fooled everyone with a dummy in midfield and broke forward before handing on to his support out wide. The move was carried forward and the Knights pack who picked up possession deep in the Blues 22m. Bedford flooded back to defend but after a number of ‘pick and go’ phases, flanker Latu Makaafi barged over for the game’s opening try. Flockhart who had been faultless with his kicking made it a seven point score and a 9-16 scoreline.

There was slight concern for Clive and the coaching staff following the try as Alex Shaw was forced from the field, replaced by Phil Eggleshaw. From the restart Doncaster carried with purpose up field and soon found themselves in the Blues 22m once again. Under pressure the home defences jumped the gun and were penalized for offside, the penalty was certainly in Flockhart range but Francis elected to go to touch. The line out was caught successfully and Donny quickly organized a powerful maul, the backs flooded in to aid the effort and Makaafi finished it off for a quick fire brace. Flockhart immaculately slotted the extras to bring the first half to a close. Half time score Blues 9 Knights 23.

Despite the lead the Knights knew they were far from over the line, especially faced with the prospect of playing a second half up the hill. The home side came out impressively for the second half and looked as if they’d scored when the pack piled over the try line following a powerful carry from tight head James Currie but referee Jackson awarded the Knights a penalty for double movement.

Doncaster capitalized on the let off shortly after, Andy Bulumakau made a lovely break up field; the winger failed to find his support and was hauled down but the Knights had a penalty as the Blues defence failed to roll away. Flockhart extended the Knights lead to 17 points with a successful kick with fifty minutes gone.

The penalty masked what had been a worrying start to the second half by Griff’s charges and it didn’t little to stem the waves of Bedford attacks. Another let off came shortly after when the Blues backline created space and a snappy pass was fizzed towards winger Pat Tapley, thankfully the pass missed its target but the breakthrough came shortly after. Quickly recycled ball created plenty of room for the increasingly threatening Blues backs, Sharp and LeBourgeois link up smartly and when play was switch Tapley collected and touched down.

Donny were dealt another blow moments later when Paul Jarvis was sin binned for killing the ball on another threatening Bedford move and with a man advantage the hosts were soon in again. A penalty to the corner and nicely executed line out saw the ball rapidly spun to the left where Dean Adamson collected to score. Pritchard’s kick from the touchline fell wide meaning the Knights lead was now just five points.

This lead did not last long as almost immediately after the restart Piers Francis, filling in at full back, fielded a kick downfield. He attempted a chip ahead but Michael Le Bourgeois collected it on the full and set off towards the try line. George Catchpole did superbly to quickly switch direction and track the former Jersey man down but in the subsequent phase Jake Sharp collected and forced his way over. The conversion put Bedford in the lead for the first time in the game with five minutes left to play.

Back to a full compliment of the Knights showed an attacking intent and capability not seen since the first half and quickly made their way deep into Bedford territory. A scrum was awarded the Knights way that then became a penalty for wheeling and Flockhart had the opportunity to kick the Knights back in to the lead with only a couple of minutes left in the game. The winger was on target and the clock read 80 minutes. 28-29.

A deep restart was fielded by the Knights pack and it seemed all that was needed was a couple of patient phases to run down the clock. Unfortunately a knock on at a ruck in the Knights 22m gave Bedford a lifeline and they went back on the attack. The Knights desperately tried to hold firm but space was found out wide and Jake Sharp touched down for his second.

The score not only sealed the win for Bedford but a four try bonus point as, following Pritchard’s successful conversion, the game was ended.

This was another match where the Knights have been more than a match for their opponents but poor decision making and indiscipline at crucial times put paid to what should have been an impressive away win.

Match Statistics

Blues Starting XV:15. James Pritchard (c)?, 14. Pat Tapley,? 13. Mike Le Bourgeois?, 12. Ollie Dodge (Steffan Jones 59’), ?11. Dean Adamson, ?10. Jake Sharp,? 9. Darryl Veenendaal? (Peter White 67’), 1. Johnny Harris (Tom Williams 59’), ?2. Charlie Clare? (TJ Harris 77’), 3. James Currie (Phil Boulton 59’), ?4. Mike Howard,? 5. Ben Gulliver (Harry Wells 59’), ?6. Justin Blanchet,? 7. Josh Buggea (Joe Vandermolen 59’), ?8. Paul Tupai?.

?Replacements:? ?16. TJ Harris? 17. Tom Williams? 18. Phil Boulton ?19. Harry Wells ?20. Joe Vandermolen ?21. Peter White ?22. Steffan Jones

Tries: Tapley 58, Adamson 70’, Sharp 74’, 80’

Conv: Pritchard 59’, 74’, 80’

Pens; Pritchard 5’, 14’, 31’

Knights Starting XV: 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. George Catchpole, 12. Bevon Armitage, 11. Andy Bulumakau, 10. Piers Francis (Paul Roberts 75’), 9. Brad Field (Bruno Bravo 46’), 8. Alex Shaw (Phil Eggleshaw 34’), 7. Michael Hills (Captain), 6. Latu Makaafi, 5. Jon Phelan, 4. Matthew Challinor (Tyler Hotson 62’), 3. Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 55’), 2. Ben Hunter (Villiame Veikoso 75’), 1. Jack Bergmanas (Richard List 55’)

Replacements: 16 Richard List, 17 WillGriff John, 18 Villiame Veikoso, 19 Tyler Hotson, 20 Phil Eggleshaw, 21 Paul Roberts, 22 Bruno Bravo.

Tries; Makaafi 33’, 37’

Conv; Flockhart 34’, 38’

Pens; Flockhart 2’, 12’, 17’, 50’, 79′

Attendance: 2,114

Referee: Andrew Jackson

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