Academy fight back to banish the Exiles

Bedford scrum-half Dylan Leney powers forward. Picture (c) bgrphotography
Bedford scrum-half Dylan Leney powers forward. Picture (c) bgrphotography

The Blues Academy put an error-strewn first half behind them as they scored two tries after the interval to beat Irish Exiles 15-5 at Goldington Road on Sunday.

Exiles had the majority of the territory early in the game and it was the visitors who scored first after 20 minutes.

Bedford won a lineout in their own 22 but tried to ship the ball flat across their back line, only to concede a scrum. The pack won the ball against the head but the Blues then gave it away again, and with the Bedford defence getting too narrow the Exiles worked an overlap on the right for full-back Liam McGloughlin to score in the corner.

Bedford hit back five minutes later when a good break from full-back Liam Shields made space for winger Ross Taylor on the left, to make the half-time score five points all.

After strong words at the interval, the Blues began the second half with greater intensity, but strong Irish defence kept them at bay until they made the breakthrough after 15 minutes.

A good lineout take from second row Kyron Houston and a clean break by centre Harry Hutchins put centre Paul Aguele in for a try.

The Blues stretched their lead on the half hour when, from a scrum on the left, Bedford took the ball right to win two quick rucks; the ball was brought back blind and full-back Max Titchener put hooker George Harris in for a good try, to make the final score 15-5 to Bedford.

Blues Academy Director Denis Ormesher said: “The Exiles had some good individual players, with scrum-half Jack Combes – who played for Ireland U18 last season – and a handful around the fringes.

“This was the Exiles’ first game of the season, but it was the Blues who looked disorganised. Our decision making and lack of intensity in the first half was disappointing.

“The lads raised the tempo in the second half and created two good tries, but they know that we will need to raise the game significantly to cope with Oxford University Whippets next week.”

Bedford: Ben Thompson, Michael Bond, Oliver Pescott-Frost, Cameron Lawes, Sam Copeland, Jacob Moody, Callum Strachan, Jacob North; Olly Howard, Ben Phillips; Ross Taylor, Harry Hutchins (capt), Liam Shields, Paul Aguele; Max Titchener. Replacements: Charley Robinson, George Harris, Henry Peck, Kyron Houston, Tom Tucker, Reuben Pritchard, Dylan Leney, Tom Jennings.

Irish Exiles: Paddy O’Connor, Tom Kelly, Ben Gomples, Conor Gilligan, Liam Kirkpatrick, Matt Riley, Joe Flanagan, Matt Tucker; Jack Combes (capt), Tadhg McGuckin; George Nenelly, Adam Huxford, Ruairi Wharton, Dom Gorrard; Liam McGloughlin. Replacements: Ryan Evans, Sam Garvey, Brendan Maguire, Ruairi Henderson, Conor Milnes.