Bedford Blues Academy produced a good second half performance against the elements to beat Eastern Counties U20s 41-17, at Cambridge last Wednesday.
With a spate of front row injuries to cope with the Blues welcomed back props Josh Smith, now at Ampthill, and Will Allard, now at Bedford Athletic, from last year’s Academy squad.
Bedford played with the slope and wind in the first half but struggled to settle into the game.
From a seventh-minute scrum Blues applied pressure and centre Nathan Donnachie scored on the blindside, with fly-half Joe Tarrant converting.
Both teams found it hard to retain possession in a scrappy game and turnover balls saw winger Mike DiPonio run in Bedford’s second try on 16 minutes.
Blues were dominant at the scrum and starved their hosts of any attacking opportunities and, with the last play of the half, full-back Will Simmonds crossed with Tarrant adding the extras as the Blues led 19-0 at half time.
The second half saw the Blues play some excellent attacking rugby into the strong wind and, after a number of drives, Louis Rawlings was bundled over on 54 minutes.
Directly from the restart catch, the ball was moved wide to winger Mike Stanway who showed his pace to score in the left corner.
Bedford’s forwards made 30 metres from a catch-and-drive move and Stanway raced away for his second try on 69 minutes.
Poor concentration and discipline saw the Blues leak two tries, before a fine break from prop Jack Simpson and slick handling saw Donnachie go over in the left corner, with Tarrant again adding the conversion.
With fatigue setting in, the Blues conceded a try with the last play of the game but it mattered little.
Coach Neil Harris added: ”We were pleased with the performance in the second half.
“The scrummaging performance was dominant, whilst the backs were executing opportunities well.”
Blues: Josh Smith, Alex Bloisi, Will Allard, Alex Ruck, Ben Latimer, Josh Lemon, Louis Rawlings, Danny Hartwell, George Humphries, Joe Tarrant, Mike DiPonio, Nathan Donnachie, Felix Streeton (C), Mike Stanway, Will Simmonds. Replacements: Joe Foreman, Jack Simpson, Jack Warrior, Luke Carter, Scott Arroyo-Hover, Tom Borrett, Brandon Lewsey.