London Scottish fight back to leave the Blues empty-handed

Nick Fenton-Wells in action for Bedford Blues last season
Nick Fenton-Wells in action for Bedford Blues last season

Bedford Blues tasted defeat for the first time in the Greene King IPA Championship as they went down 24-12 at London Scottish on Saturday afternoon.

Bedford put in a strong first half performance and went in 7-0 up at the interval thanks to a converted Pat Tapley try but the Blues would have been disappointed not to have racked up more points in an opening 40 minutes that they dominated.

A resurgent London Scottish ran in two tries in four minutes to turn the tables before Pier O’Conor gave the Blues a fighting chance only for a Peter Lydon penalty and a Chris Walker try to put the game out of reach.

Bedford had the first opportunity to put points on the board when Myles Dorrian was given a kickable penalty opportunity but his effort drifted wide of the posts.

The Blues continued to push on but were denied what looked like the opening try of the game from Paul Tupai when the ref spotted an earlier knock on at the driving maul.

Bedford came agonisingly close soon afterwards when Michael Le Bourgeois made a dart for the line only to have the ball ripped away from him and the Exiles were able to clear.

It took until the 36th minute for the first points of the game and it came from a well worked Blues move. Dorrian and Tupai linked up well before Ollie Dodge took over and made some ground before offloading to Tapley to run in. Dorrian struck the conversion to give the Blues a 0-7 lead.

The hosts had the opportunity to reduce the deficit just before the break with a penalty of their own, but it carried wide and Bedford went in ahead at the interval.

London Scottish came out in a determined mood after the break and it took eight minutes for them to level the scores through their ‘go to’ man Mark Bright. A penalty was sent into the Blues 22 and from the resulting lineout, Bright was on hand to rumble over with Lydon converting.

Bedford were then caught out when an up-and-under from Oli Grove fell straight into the hands of speedy winger Matt Williams who turned on the gas to score with Lydon again converting to make it 14-7.

The Blues continued to put pressure on the Exiles and it paid off when a mistake at the back of a ruck allowed Piers O’Conor to pounce although Jake Sharp couldn’t add the extras so it stayed 14-12.

Lydon added a penalty to make it a five-point gap with 15 minutes of the game remaining and then Bedford had a chance to retake the lead when Jake Sharp exploited a gap in the Exiles defence only to be denied by the covering defence.

London Scottish sealed the win with a well worked third try which saw Williams and Drew Locke combining well before Chris Walker was played through to score with Lydon again converting.

The Exiles looked for a try bonus point at the end of the game when a penalty was sent to touch but they came up short.

Bedford will brush themselves down quickly from this setback and learn a lot of lessons as they prepare for another trip to the capital next weekend when they travel to Old Deer Park to face London Welsh.

London Scottish: Lydon, Williams, Locke, Grove, Harries (Mantella 72), Newton, Heeks (Weir 56), Gibbons (Hallam 40), Kwasnicki (Cherry 50), Maidment (Young 56), Carrick-Smith (Patrick 56), Brown, Pennycook, Walker, Bright.

Replacement not used: Treadwell.

Bedford: O’Conor, Tapley, Le Bourgeois, Dodge (Staff 69), Adamson (Wilkinson 77), Dorrian (Sharp 56), Burns (Taylor 56), Parilli-Ocampo (Culverhouse 72), Clare, Currie, Tupai (Howard 50), Flanagan, Wells (Thompson-Stringer 50), Buggea, Fenton-Wells.

Attendance: 1,154.

Referee: Matthew Carley.