Bedford Blues have returned to pre-season training this week and the players are gearing up for a pair of intriguing friendly encounters ahead of the Greene King IPA Championship season which kicks off on the first weekend of September.
Ahead of the league opener, the Blues will take part in three matches against four teams. The first game will be a first triangular friendly at Goldington Road on Saturday, August 15 against National One opposition Old Albanians and Ampthill, with all three teams playing each other for 40 minutes.
The following weekend, the Blues will be heading west to take on Plymouth Albion, who were relegated from the Championship last season, at Brickfields. Bedford have always enjoyed their encounters against Albion – particularly the 2005 Powergen Shield final at Twickenham – and will be looking forward to the test of taking on Graham Dawes’ men.
Bedford’s final pre-season encounter is yet to be confirmed but Mike Rayer’s men will be taking on a big team ahead of the Championship season opener the following weekend.
Speaking about the pre-season matches, Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer, said: “We are really pleased with what we’ve been able to put together. It’s varied and, most importantly, a very challenging set of fixtures.
“These games will be the perfect preparation for what is going to be another demanding season.
“Starting at home with Ampthill and OA’s is a unique and different opportunity for all three clubs and gives it a real local feel that should attract a good crowd.
“We then travel to Plymouth for a game which will form part of a training camp as we ramp up our preparations.
“We also know that Graham Dawe will give us a particularly warm welcome down in Devon. We then have one more game in the bag but we need to finalise the details before we can announce it.
“The lads have knuckled down to some hard graft already this week and there’s a lot more of that ahead. There’s a good vibe developing already and these games won’t come around quick enough for the lads once Pettsy has finished with them!”