Bedford Blues 3/3/23

48Bedford Blues

25Doncaster Knights

7:45 pm · March 3, 2023

Tough Friday Night at Goldington Road for Knights as Blues Run Away with Win

Doncaster Knights were not at their best last night at Goldington Road as a lack of fluidity in attack and an off-the-pace defensive set up saw them fall 48-25 to Bedford Blues in a return to Championship league action in Round 15.

The scrum could be deemed a highlight throughout the evening for the Knights as the Donny pack got dominant hits in at each engagement – producing penalties against their opponents’ infringements on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, Bedford were the team better able to capitalise on their positives.

The first points on the board belonged to Alex Dolly as he kicked a comfortable penalty inside 7 minutes for the hosts having collapsed at the scrum. Will Maisey evened things up a short 3 minutes later as the Knights were penalised for offside on the edge of their own 22.

The first try of the affair belonged to the men in blue. Having had their driving maul brought to ground short, Bedford went to the phases and, despite some dogged defensive work in the corner from the Knights, there was a man overlap for the hosts meaning there weren’t enough bodies in the line to cover Maisey popping a pass off the shoulder to Ethan Grayson right by the posts. Maisey’s conversion put the Blues into double digits on the board.

The second try to the hosts saw them reconfigure their driving maul as it rumbled forward with confidence, allowing Oisin Heffernan – in control of the ball at the back – to crash over for the 5 points. There was to be no extras as Maisey’s conversion attempted pulled wide of the sticks.

The Knights had their first try on 23 minutes played courtesy of former Blues man, George Edgson. With positive work in the Blues 22, including some lovely feet in the carry from Connor Edwards, the Knights claimed good position with a lineout. Donny went to the front lift and the ball was dropped straight back down into the pocket for Edgson who crossed the whitewash for the score. Dolly dutifully added the extras.

With the clock ticking away on the remaining minutes of the first half, Dolly closed the gap to 2 points as the Knights’ defensive pressure forced a mistake form the Blues for not releasing at a ruck in their own half and the Donny scrum half indicated a shot at goal which he nailed.

With a minute left however, Bedford reopened the gap. Having collected a Knights chip and chase, mistackles from the Knights gave soft shoulders for the Bedford backs to run around. Sean French took the pass to his wing on the edge of the Knights 22 to run in underneath the posts. With Maisey’s conversion, the half-time score read 22-13.

It took less than a full minute on the second half clock for Bedford to add to the aforementioned lead. Kieran Curran made the original carry to break the line before the Blues chipped through the feet. Jack Metcalf was bested as he attempted to take the bouncing ball as French nabbed it for the score.

The Knights added another try to their side of the board just short of 50 minutes. As could have been predicted for some point throughout the match – the driving maul produced for the Knights pack. The pack built a good first platform before the backs fired in for some extra weight. John Kelly then tore off the back to stretch a paw out for the try.

Bedford’s response was almost immediate. Finding a gap, Maisey cantered through and with Alex Day inside him running the support line, he put his scrum half away for the score before converting it himself.

The hosts were reduced in man-power shortly just about on the hour mark as repeated infringements at the scrum saw replacement tighthead prop Ed Prowse the man chosen to be sent to the sin bin.

The Knights added to their points with Prowse still serving out his yellow card. An overthrow at a Blues lineout was grabbed at the back by Will Holling who made good yards in the carry before nice speed of ball on the edge of the 22 saw the Knights look to play. Working the attacking pressure, great short feeds a couple of metres out allowed a gap to open up for Rhys Tait to crash through for the score.

Unfortunately, Dolly’s conversion would prove to be the last points of the encounter for the Donny men.

Bedford scored twice more before the evening was out – both courtesy of French as he chalked up 4 tries throughout the game. The first saw the winger skip to take the ball before the chasing Maliq Holden and Metcalf and run it in under the posts, while the second saw French tear through a scattered Doncaster defence to fly over with a splash finish as Ehize Ehizode tried in vain to reach him.

It was a second half performance which didn’t build on the promise of elements of the first 40 minutes which ultimately saw the Knights defeated by a confident and energised home side. There will be detailed analysis needed in the Knights camp before they welcome Jersey Reds to Castle Park next weekend.

Match Statistics

Bedford XV | 15 Matt Worley, 14 Sean French, 13 Ethan Grayson, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Dean Adamson; 10 Will Maisey, 9 Alex Day; 1 Joey Conway, 2 Jack Hughes, 3 Oisin Heffernan, 4 Robin Williams, 5 Luke Frost, 6 Kayde Sylvester, 7 Jac Arthur, 8 Tui Uru.

Replacements | 16 James Fish, 17 Lewis Holsey, 18 Ed Prowse, 19 Tom Lockett, 20 Kieran Curran, 21 Rory Brand, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Pens: Maisey

Tries: Grayson, Heffernan, French 4, Day

Cons: Maisey 5

Yellow card: Ed Prowse


Knights XV | 15 Maliq Holden; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Jack Metcalf; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 James Wayland, 2 George Edgson, 3 Jake Armstrong, 4 Ehize Ehizode, 5 Max Williamson, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Rhys Tait, 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Karl Garside, 19 Theo Vukasinovic, 20 Jared Cardew, 21 Will Yarnell, 22 Billy McBryde, 23 Adam Hopkinson.

Pens: Dolly 2

Tries: Edgson, Kelly, Tait

Cons: Dolly 2


Referee: Mike Hudson

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