Bedford Blues Academy gained a narrow win over Cambridge University U21 at Grange Road on Saturday.
Drawing 12-all all at half-time, the Blues scored two further tries in the second half to win by 26 points to 19.
Cambridge took an early lead when the students’ left wing found space to score in the corner; the try was converted and Cambridge were seven points ahead.
However, Bedford replied straight from the kick-off; the ball was kicked deep and a good chase from the Blues caught the students in their own half before winger Luke Hibberd went over in the corner.
The Bedford pack began to gain the upper hand on their older opponents but, in a stop-start game littered with penalties against both sides, they were unable to convert this pressure into points.
Late in the half the Blues went ahead with a well-worked blind side move – scrum-half Tom Whiteley and full-back Jack Stapley exchanging passes before Whiteley went over to score. Centre Cameron Gregory-Ring converted and Bedford were 12-7 ahead.
The students levelled the scores at 12-all when the Blues defence was found wanting and the Cambridge hooker went over for a try in the left corner on the stroke of half-time.
Bedford continued the forward pressure in the second half and were rewarded with a well-worked try from a 5m lineout drive, touched down by flanker Josh Fadden; Gregory-Ring converted.
Mid-way through the half the Blues scored the try of the game. A counter-attack from the Bedford 22 moved the ball the width of the pitch and up to the Blues 10m line, before fly-half Chris Easton offloaded to prop Ralph Adams-Hale, who made 40m and passed to Whiteley, who had the pace to beat the defence and score; Gregory-Ring converted and the Blues were 26-12 ahead.
Cambridge bagged the final score of the game when centre Lare Erogbogbo scored a good try, converted by ex-Blues Academy centre Michael Philips.
Blues Academy director Denis Ormesher said: “We were pleased with the performance, and how we handled the older students’ side.
“At times our forward play looked very strong.”
He added: “We were disappointed with our defence, and with conceding three tries.
“Nevertheless a win away against the older Cambridge side, who were unbeaten, is a good result. We can learn from what we did well, and from what we need to work on.”