Round-up - Blues welcome top side Trailfinders, Athletic keep 100% record and unbeaten Swifts draw with leaders

Week off for Ampthill after another comeback denies them victory
Jordan Marshall kicking for Bedford Swifts in their 10-10 draw with league leaders BrackleyJordan Marshall kicking for Bedford Swifts in their 10-10 draw with league leaders Brackley
Jordan Marshall kicking for Bedford Swifts in their 10-10 draw with league leaders Brackley

Bedford Blues entertain top-of-the-table Ealing Trailfinders at Goldington Road on Saturday in an eagerly anticipated Greene King IPA Championship clash.

Fourth-placed Blues are just four points behind the leaders after five games, having won 42-19 at Hartpury University at the weekend - and supporters are expecting another thrilling encounter.

Blues were just 14-12 up at half time at The Alpas Arena after tries for Tui Uru and Reece Marshall. But were rampant after the break, adding six more for Ethan Grayson, Dean Adamson (2) and Jordan Onojaife.

Forwards Coach, Sean McCarthy said: “It was great to see the boys fronted up at the set-piece compared to last week after putting in a lot of work in training.

“We were quite honest in the week because we weren’t at the races against Richmond last week, a lot of boys put their hands up and we spoke about the main focus being control this week.

“It wasn’t perfect but our half-backs showed that control in spades which is the pleasing point.”

Ampthill have a bye this week to regroup after their agonising 20-18 defeat by Doncaster Knights. Having led 18-3 at half time, Ampthill let Doncaster back into the game with two tries in the final five minutes including a last play, length of the field score.

Disappointed head coach Paul Turner said: “Last week I felt broken that we didn’t take advantage and get four points out of Jersey because I felt we deserved that.

“This week, I spoke to the boys at half time and said we’re 18-3 up and we haven’t really done anything. We hadn’t played; our set-piece wasn’t good enough, our lineout wasn’t functioning, but we were 18-3 up.

“Doncaster are a professional side and give them enough opportunities and they’ll take one. Unfortunately, it was with the last play of the game. We fell short and I’m devastated.”

Loosehead prop George Thornton, 24, has re-joined Ampthill for the rest of the season, having scored four tries in five games in 2017-18 on a dual registration from Wasps.

He joins from Ayrshire Bulls with whom he won the Scottish Super Six at Murrayfield two weeks ago. George started his professional career with Wasps Academy and has also had a spell with Glasgow.

Bedford Athletic continued their 100 per cent record in Midlands 1 East with a 68-10 win at home to Oadby Wyggestonians, with a consistent performance over 80 minutes for the first time this season.

Leo Mortimer led the way with two tries and nine conversions for a personal best haul of 28 points.

This weekend Athletic - who are now 13 points ahead at the top of the table - visit mid-table Old Northamptonians, with the earlier kick-off time of 2.15pm.

Queens are finding life tough in Midlands 3 East (South) going down 40-17 to Rushden & Higham. This week they head to fellow strugglers Spalding.

Unbeaten Bedford Swifts host second-placed Deepings this weekend, following their 10-10 draw at undefeated league leaders Brackley in Midlands 4 East (South).

Fielding six changes, Swifts were a try down well into the second half.

Regularly crashing through the Brackley defence, with great lines especially from centre Harry Alston, all good things were going through Jordan Marshall at scrum half and his penalty drew the score back to 5-3.

Soon after, Swifts prop Ryan Litchfield powered over and Marshall converted to give Swifts a 5-10 lead.

Swifts were defending heroically in this physical epic, but became over eager at the breakdown, earning two yellow cards and Brackley touched down in the final play.