Academy side returns to action with a bang

Blues Academy full-back Ben Meaden surges forward. Picture �bgrphotography
Blues Academy full-back Ben Meaden surges forward. Picture �bgrphotography

Bedford Blues Academy played their first game since the Christmas break, winning 48-22 away at Ealing on their synthetic 3G pitch.

With two last-minute changes in the back line, due to an injury in the warm-up and a late arrival, Bedford had to rearrange their line-up shortly before the kick-off.

Playing up the hill, and against a strong wind in the first half, the Blues turned around a half-time deficit of 22-17 to claim the victory.

The second half was a different affair, with the Blues scoring 31 unanswered points to win by 48 points to 22.

The Blues scorers in the first half were tries from flanker Callum Strachan, full-back George Silk, and hooker Ben Wilkinson, with one conversion from centre Cameron Gregory-Ring.

In the second half, U17 winger Ryan Hutler – making a dream debut – collected a hat-trick of tries, with winger Luke Hibberd and Gregory-Ring getting one each. Gregory-Ring also kicked three conversions.

Blues coach Rich Candlin said: “Playing the first half into the wind, and up the hill, was a stern test to open the second half of the season after a three-week break.

“ However, the cobwebs were quickly blown away and we began to put some phases together and used width to counter the blitz defence.

“Our defence helped us win a number of turnover balls to create try scoring opportunities – some of which we capitalised on.

“In the second half our work-rate was higher and we kept hold of the ball for long periods of time.

The forwards carried well and sucked in defenders, allowing backs to break the gain line and link to finish off with some great tries.”

Bedford line-up: Josh Waller, Garth Spencer, Ben Wilkinson, Alex Burman, Sam Copeland, Callum Strachan, Ollie Robinson, Zach Scott-Gray; Dylan Leney, Chris Easton; Luke Hibberd, Cameron Gregory-Ring, Ben Meaden, Will Foster; George Silk.

Replacements: Dan Hostleter, Hayden King, Charley Robinson, Harry Agnew, Steffan Osman-Wiggin, Roddy Giles, Ryan Hutler, Scott Lyle.