Late heartbreak as Bedford Blues fightback is all in vain

Bedford Blues' second half fightback was ultimately in vain as Alex Morgan’s try with the clock in the red saw Hartpury University steal a 41-35 Championship win.
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Blues had somehow picked themselves back off the canvas in the second half after a disastrous opening 40 minutes left them staring a heavy defeat straight down the barrel.

It was a fantastic effort to get back in the fight, and they even led 35-34 with four minutes of the contest to go, but Hartpury found that one final moment to take the initiative back and get themselves back in the fight for the Top Four positions.

Blues just don’t seem to be able to start well this season and this was one mountain too high to climb having fallen 21-0 down early doors in the contest.

Sean French- helped set up Blues' opening try (Photo by Ben Roberts Photo/Getty Images)Sean French- helped set up Blues' opening try (Photo by Ben Roberts Photo/Getty Images)
Sean French- helped set up Blues' opening try (Photo by Ben Roberts Photo/Getty Images)

Hartpury just wanted it so much more than Bedford in those opening exchanges and Blues hadn’t even make an entry to the opposition 22m before conceding the third of those tries.

Blues needed something and they at least had something to fight for thanks to some ingenuity from Sean French out wide to create the gap, release Dean Adamson who in turn offloaded for Jake Garside to sprint home.

A rocket was needed at the break and Blues looked a completely different unit in the second half – more fire in the belly, more desire and more creativity to work their way back into a contest as Adamson got to the line before a penalty try got them to within three at 24-21.

That resulted in one of three yellow cards handed out to Hartpury during the course of proceedings – another sore point as Blues couldn’t take advantage of having a man advantage for a total of 30 minutes.

Cameron King’s try and Will Maisey’s neat combo with Louis Grimoldby and subsequent conversion of his own score put Blues ahead for the first time as the game ticked down.

But they couldn’t hold on as Hartpury rallied with the final passage of play to take the spoils.

A dominant second half performance from Coventry saw them to a 34-6 bonus point win over Amphill at the Butts Park Arena.

Following the game, Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said “We went into the break leading 6-5, despite matching Coventry on the error count.

“The feeling was that we could get something from the game. We couldn’t fault the commitment and energy shown in the first 40.

“We said to the players at half-time that the first 10 minutes of the second half would be critical, and so they proved to be as we lost complete control of the game then.

“Coventry are a good side but we made it easy for them in the second half, we’ve a lot to work on before we play Scottish on Saturday.”

Ampthill started the game slow and when they went behind to a James Martin try within two minutes of the start it looked like the Mob were in for a long afternoon.

However, the Maroon and Gold grew into the game – a missed Pellegrini penalty to extend the hosts lead buoyed the visitors and they started to take the game to Coventry – building phases in attack and defending resiliently on their own tryline when needed.

Two penalties from Gwyn Parks in the 20th and 25th minutes gave the Mob a slender 6-5 lead at half-time.

The second half was to prove a different story as Coventry scored 29 unanswered points – their second try from the restart gave them momentum, a third five minutes later left Ampthill chasing the game.

Ampthill never gave up the fight but scoring opportunities were few and far between and Coventry punished every mistake running in another two tries.