Bedford Blues secured their first home victory of the New Year in front of the Sky Sports cameras as they defeated London Scottish 31-19 on Friday afternoon.
The Blues picked up their first bonus point victory of 2016 courtesy of four first half tries from Mike Howard, Mark Flanagan, Michael Le Bourgeois and man of the match Nick Fenton Wells, who picked up his second try in the second half.
Bedford took control of possession in the early stages of the first half as they applied pressure to the Scottish defence, but they failed to find the breakthrough before London Scottish cleared their lines.
The 4,341 loyal fans in attendance didn’t have to wait long for the first points as Howard went crashing over in the 14th minute after a driving maul proved too much for the Scottish defence to handle, but Jake Sharp failed to send over the conversion.
Bedford pushed on, though, and six minutes later they got their second try through Flanagan. Bedford picked up a penalty which was sent to touch, resulting in a line out 5 metres from the try line, and great link-up play between Henry Taylor and Flanagan sent the second row charging for the line before he danced past the last defender and dotted the ball down. Sharp added the extras.
Bedford looked dominant at this point and it was proved right as they scored their fourth try just five minutes later. Captain Fenton-Wells scored his first try of the afternoon following another dangerous driving maul which proved too much for the defence once again, allowing the captain the space needed to cross the line, and Sharp sent the ball over to take the score to 19-0.
Bedford thought they had the game wrapped up within 32 minutes as Henry Taylor went over, but referee Ian Tempest took full advantage of the TMO which resulted in the referee deciding Taylor was held up as he went over the line.
Bedford didn’t let their heads drop though as they pushed up-field once again, which resulted in the fourth try that secured the bonus point. Another impressive wave of play, led by Taylor, set up the attack for Sharp who sent the ball out wide to Le Bourgeois who strolled over the line before Sharp added the extras.
The Blues defence looked set to go in to half-time without conceding a try, but a Sharp pass was intercepted by Hughes who showed lightning speed to sprint to the line, allowing Lydon his first shot at the posts which he dispatched with ease
The half time whistle followed, with Bedford taking a healthy 26-7 lead in to the break.
London Scottish came out in the second half with a huge task in front of them but they took control of the early minutes before Bedford turned defence in to attack, allowing Fenton-Wells to score his second try of the game.
Bedford picked up another penalty in the Exiles 22 which Sharp sent deep in the corner, resulting in another strong driving maul which saw the captain dot down in the corner for an unconverted try.
London Scottish enjoyed a lot more of the ball in the second half and they certainly made it count. Bedford were pinned back in their own 22 from a penalty and the resulting line out saw Chris Walker cross the white wash, but Lydon sent the conversion just wide.
Bedford were forced in to a substitution as their first try scorer, Howard, picked up an injury which looked pretty serious but Bedford didn’t seem to lose their shape as they carried on holding the Exiles at arm’s length.
With only 10 minutes left on the clock, Bedford looked home and dry, but as London Scottish edged closer and closer to the try line referee Tempest called for the TMO once more and it resulted in a penalty try for the visitors as Le Bourgeois was shown a yellow card.
Bedford didn’t have to wait long for the final whistle, though, as they secured yet another very impressive victory at Goldington road in front of a huge attendance.
Bedford Blues: O’Conor (Jones 67), Tapley, Le Bourgeois, Griffiths, Perkins, Sharp (Dorrian 67), Taylor (Burns 71), Lundberg, Clare (Williams 80), Boulton (Alo 75), Howard (Tupai 60), Flanagan, Buggea (Blanchet 69), Fenton-Wells, Conlon.
London Scottish: Lydon, Harries (Weir 79), Fergusson, Grove (Millar 23), Hughes (Weir 67-76), Newton, Horne (Heeks 72), Cosgrove (Schonert 72), Cherry (Kwasnicki 53), Shields (Litchfield 20-28 & 40), Carrick-Smith, Bartle, Bright, Walker (Moran 69), Clarke.
Referee: Ian Tempest.