Rugby round-up - It's derby weekend for Bedford Blues and Ampthill
Big Championship game at Goldington Road
It’s derby day in the Greene King IPA Championship on Saturday when Bedford Blues host Ampthill at Goldington Road.
When the teams met in the season’s first competitive ‘Battle of Bedfordshire’ on October 9 at Dillingham Park, Blues were the 53-34 victors in a high-scoring, entertaining game.
Ampthill, will be hoping to reverse fortunes this time, fresh from their New Year’s Day 36-17 home triumph over London Scottish.
Blues haven’t played since their Boxing Day 28-19 win over visiting Jersey Reds as their trip to Doncaster Knights was postponed.
Blues are fifth in the table with 33 points after 11 games, with Ampthill two places below, having played two more games so far for 29 points.
The weather was a true leveller, as Aylestone St James RFC travelled to Barkers Lane to take on Bedford Swifts in the league .
It was tough conditions for both teams in the cold, wet, wind, rain, and even a little bit of sleet - with the home side victorious 28-0.
Swifts were soon off the mark with a penalty, then quickly after with Ross Tuffin, returning to outside centre, powering over for the first try of the New Year.
Jordan Marshall kept the scoreboard ticking throughout the half, by taking all the penalty points on offer.
Playing with the wind, Waide Allen at 10, kept up the attacking momentum.
The dominant first half performance saw Swifts go in 14-0 up at the break.
As the weather worsened the contest became ever-more scrappy, with the majority of the game now a succession of set pieces, and rucks and mauls, gleaning both sides little progress.
When the play did break up, powerful runs by Ryan Litchfield and Tommy McCollin enabled Swifts to dominate.
A well-worked powerful penalty set play saw eventual Man of the Match, Tuffin, crash through for his second of the afternoon and this was followed shortly after by Wilson touching down next to the posts.
Marshall maintained his consistency, by successfully converting both tries and The Swifts now led 28-0, a score which proved to be the end result.
Jimmies were not rolling over, pushing hard to the final whistle and they camped in the Swifts 22 for the final 10 minutes.
Swifts defence held strong, to keep an impressive clean sheet, but the frustration was that they needed to be at the other end, searching for the fourth try and the extra bonus point.
The Swifts are now second in the Midlands 4 East (South) league standings behind Biggleswade, although others below them do have a game in hand. Their next match is January 22, the rearranged away fixture against Stamford College Old Boys.
Midlands 1 East leaders Bedford Athletic beat second-placed Derby 42-22. Athletic are now 15 points clear at the top on 59, both having played 13 games. They visit Dronfield, in sixth, this weekend.
Bedford Queens host fellow strugglers Northampton Men’s Own in Midlands 3 East (South).