Bedford Blues secured yet another home victory under the lights after defeating Rotherham Titans 46-28 at Goldington Road on Friday evening.
Two tries from Jordan Burns, a penalty try and one each for Henry Staff, Piers O’Conor and Tom Griffiths – along with an extra 16 points coming from the boot of Jake Sharp – was enough to sink the visitors who found themselves trailing 27-0 at half-time.
The Blues piled the pressure on the Titans straight from kick-off and the visitors failed to clear their lines after a stray pass failed to reach the hands of an opposing player. It resulted in a Blues scrum on the five metre line which forced the penalty that Sharp converted to put the Blues 3-0 up in the first minute.
Rotherham didn’t dwell on going behind for too long as they got the ball straight back up the pitch, but the Blues defensive line held their ground and managed to turn over the ball. This allowed Jordan Burns to be played in before he showed a clean pair of heels and dotted the ball down to score the first try of the night before Sharp kicked the extras.
A drop goal attempt from Sharp sailed just wide moments after but Bedford were awarded a second penalty for infringement which Sharp sent over the posts in the 17th minute to put Bedford 10-0 up.
Rotherham managed to hold the Blues at arms-length up until the 31st minute when Fenton-Wells and Burns linked up, allowing O’Conor the space down the right wing before he was held up just over the line.
Bedford dominated the scrum that followed and the Titans prop was said to have deliberately collapsed the scrum, resulting in referee Simon Harding having a word with the Rotherham skipper after he collapsed it for the second time.
It happened a third time and Harding didn’t hesitate before showing a yellow card to Charlie Madison for standing up in the scrum.
When the same infringement was repeated a fourth time, the referee awarded a penalty try to the Blues before Sharp stepped up with the conversion.
Moments afterwards, Bedford took advantage of the extra man after a great break by Josh Buggea who carried the ball in to Rotherham’s 22 before passing to debutant Griffiths who unselfishly offloaded to Staff who charged over the line before Sharp added the extras.
Bedford went in to the break 27-0 up and it was thoroughly deserved after an outstanding first half performance in both attack and defence.
Rotherham got the second half under way and it was in the 41st minute that Rotherham received their second yellow card of the match after Curtis Wilson was sin binned for a high tackle on O’Connor.
Bedford immediately took advantage of the dismissal when O’Conor secured the try bonus point for the Blues. Mike Howard, who was marking his 200th appearance for Bedford, picked up the ball in the Titans 22 before offloading to Mark Flanagan who made space for O’Conor to sprint clear and dot the ball just under the posts, before Sharp converted once again.
Rotherham were stunned and the Blues didn’t take their foot off the pedal as Burns scored his second try of the game.
Bedford started another attacking wave but it was halted after a pass went slightly forward.
However, the Blues took advantage of a poor scrum from Rotherham and Haydn Thompson-Stringer pounced on to the ball and drove forward. Griffiths picked up the ball and sent an inch perfect pass to Burns who put his foot on the gas and cruised over the line before Sharp kicked the extras, making the score line 41-0 with 50 minutes played.
Rotherham had struggled to get anything out of the game up until this point, but they soon kicked in to gear after being awarded a penalty which they kicked to touch just in front of the 5 metre line. A perfectly executed driving maul sent Tim Creed over the line before Ross Jones sent the ball over the posts which finally gave the visiting supporters something to cheer about.
But it didn’t take long for Bedford to respond with their sixth try of the night courtesy of Griffiths who showed some excellent solo rugby as he cut open the Rotherham defence to score an unconverted try which made it 46-7.
Bedford looked exhausted in the 60th minute and the Titans managed to score another try as the ball was sent out wide to Ben Rath who crossed the white-wash deep in the corner. Rath looked to be in touch when the ball was grounded but after a brief discussion with his assistant Referee Simon Harding awarded the try and it was converted by Jones.
Three minutes afterwards, Rotherham managed to cross the line yet again courtesy of another driving maul which saw substitute Jack Preece bundled over the line before Jones converted.
Bedford continued to hold their ground in defence and it definitely left the visitors frustrated as they were battling hard to secure a losing try bonus point.
Rotherham finally managed to score another try just five minutes from the final whistle. An attacking line out from the visitors gave them the opportunity to apply pressure to the Blues back line once again with Luke Carter crossing the line before Jones kicked the extras.
Bedford were left to play the final few minutes with 14 men after hooker Charlie Claire was shown a yellow card for infringement, but the visitors failed to take advantage of the extra man as the referee blew the whistle for the final time, marking yet another fantastic home victory for the Blues.
Bedford Blues: O’Conor, Perkins, Staff (Dorrian 70), Griffiths (Jones 61), Adamson, Sharp, Burns (White 54), Lundberg (Williams 78), Clare, Currie (Alo 40), Howard, Flanagan (Wells 59), Fenton-Wells, Buggea (Tupai 54), Thompson-Stringer.
Rotherham: Jones, Rath, Davies, Barker, Wilson (Preece 32-40), Barrett (Hayes 40), Carter, Hislop (Cromie 61), C Maddison (Preece 50), Tampin, Holmes, Oram (B Maddison 49), Argyle, Birch (Calladine 49), Cree.