Academy grind out Oxford victory

Web stock pictures.
Web stock pictures.

Blues: Bedford Blues Academy U19s eased to a 20-0 victory over Oxford University U21s under the floodlights at Goldington Road on a wet and gloomy Saturday.

The home side gave nothing away at the breakdown, recycled the ball well and defended well as they led 6-0 at the break.

Blues coach Richard Candlin said: “This was a game we should have won by more, but some poor execution under pressure, meant we missed some scores. I thought our defence, and our ball retention, were excellent against the older students side.

“With two tough games in the next two weeks against Ealing U20s, and Saracens Academy, we will be working hard in training on converting opportunities and pressure into points.”

Playing up the hill in the first half Bedford took some time to settle after making a few poor decisions in attack and conceding penalties at the breakdown.

The Blues forwards took the game to the students and, after a catch-and-drive from the halfway had taken them to the students’ 22, fly-half George Humphries kicked the resulting penalty.

Oxford carried strongly around the breakdown and off-loaded well, but Bedford scrambled well in defence to starve Oxford of quick ball at the ruck.

Turnover ball enabled the hosts to relieve the pressure and with increased intensity, they won another penalty at the breakdown which Humphries added before the break.

Powerful rucking from the pack and the backs playing at greater pace enable the Blues to take control of possession and territory, forcing Oxford into errors.

Centre Brandon Lewsey took full advantage of a spilled pass to burst through and, although he was held up over the line, number eight Shaq Meyers was able to power off the base of the resulting five-metre scrum to score under the posts, with Humphries converting.

With the Blues now dominating the set piece, and controlling the game well, full-back Chris Lord’s crossfield kick was pperfect for winger Mike Stanway to collect, who beat three players to score underneath the posts, with Humphries adding the extras.

Aggressive tackling denied the students a score as Bedford closed out victory.

Blues: Joe Foreman, Alex Bloisi, Jack Simpson, Alex Ruck, Ben Latimer (C), Josh Lemmon, Joe Bercis, Shaq Meyers, Alex Smit, George Humphries, Mike DiPonio, Nathan Donnachie, Brandon Lewsey, Mike Stanway, Aaron Morris. Replacements: Joe Newton-Taylor, Sam Webb, Louis Castiglione, Jack Warrior, Louis Rawlings, Danny Hartwell, Tom Borrett, Chris Lord, Stefan Noort.