​Blues savour derby victory thanks to French hat-trick

​Bedford Blues recorded a league double over local rivals Ampthill for the first time in their history with a 27-33 success at The Olney Field on Saturday.
Ampthill were too strong at The Olney Field.Ampthill were too strong at The Olney Field.
Ampthill were too strong at The Olney Field.

​A hat-trick of tries from Sean French proved key to the win in a game where both sides had spells of superiority.

Ampthill started well and led 15-0 early in proceedings, Fyn Brown and Matt Gallagher combining for the latter to score the opening try and then Lewis Finlay went over with Tom Hardwick converting to make it 12-0, Hardwick then adding a penalty to add three more points.

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But Blues fought back with French scoring twice before half-time, one of them converted, and then loanee Rich Lane went through to put them 19-15 ahead after the break.

Joe Sproston produced an immediate reply, however, to put the Mob a point ahead, only for George Hendy to power through for Blues soon afterwards with Will Maisey again converting.

The topsy-turvy game turned on its head again when Tom Bacon stepped his defender to go over for another one-point lead thanks to Hardwick’s conversion, but French’s third try and a conversion from Louis Grimoldby would ultimately be enough for Blues to take the win.

Hat-trick man French said: “This fixture has been built up to me throughout the week and I don’t think it disappointed, Bedford Blues is a very special club. This means a lot to me, we made it hard for ourselves but managed to get more of a flow into our performance as we went through the game.”

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Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said: “It was a very physical contest although both teams were poor at times. We took turns to gift each other with opportunities – we just weren’t clinical enough and a good side like Bedford will always punish you.

"I was proud of the players’ effort and commitment today, we got two bonus points but probably could and should have killed the game off before half time.”

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