Bedford Blues fell just short of victory after a hard fought comeback against London Welsh on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues put up a massive fight in the last 40 minutes but they were unlucky not to be on the winning end of the 30-24 scoreline.
Two tries from in-form Blues winger George Perkins and one from Paul Tupai on his 200th appearance for the club seemed to have put Bedford in a great position to come away with maximum points.
Bedford didn’t take long to settle into the game; their first attacking opportunity saw Tupai driven across the line from the maul following a lineout, but he was held up and the referee awarded a penalty to the Welsh which gave them the opportunity to clear their lines.
Seven minutes in and the Welsh took the advantage as an excellent solo run from Guy Armitage cut open the Blues defence which allowed Nic Reynolds the space to charge down the line and ground the ball deep in the corner. Joe Carlisle narrowly missed the conversion.
A spilled line out from Bedford allowed the Welsh to double their lead just three minutes after through Guy Armitage, who scooped up the loose ball just ahead of the line before grounding for the try which Carlisle converted to make it 12-0.
Myles Dorrian converted a penalty just minutes after to put Bedford’s first points of the afternoon on the board after an offside decision against Welsh’s number 8, Dan Leo.
The travelling Blues fans’ hopes of a quick fire revival were cut short after Welsh’s third try was grounded by Darren Waters who was driven across the line.
The Blues kept their heads up and welcomed a lengthy spell of possession which saw Tupai cross the line and ground their first try of the game, but Dorrian failed to kick the extras.
Carlisle once again pegged back the Blues after scoring a simple penalty straight in front of the posts, but Bedford managed to secure their second try of the game through winger Perkins after an excellent attacking move between Michael Le Bourgeois and Henry Staff allowed Perkins the space down the left to show a clean pair of heels that allowed him to touch down. Dorrians failed to add the extras after his conversion sailed just centimetres wide.
Bedford were unlucky not to grab another try just before half-time as a turnover ball attack was cut short by the whistle from referee Darren Gamage after he spotted crossing, and the half finished 22-13 to the home side.
Bedford opened the scoring in the second half after Dorrian kicked a penalty to touch. This set up the line out which Josh Buggea received well before offloading the ball to Perkins whose lightning speed sent him over the line, but the conversion was sent wide of the posts.
The quality of the home side definitely shone through when the scoreline read 22-21; London Welsh scored their fourth try after another attacking maul was formed from a lineout which sent Ryan Hodson over the line, but Carlisle couldn’t convert.
Bedford responded well yet again after another fantastic attacking wave of possession which saw Camilo Parilli-Ocampo heavily used in the attacking line.
London Welsh encouraged the attacking pressure that the Blues were piling on them and reversed it, which saw the hosts handed a penalty and Carlisle extended the lead to 30-21.
Bedford carried on battling away in attack, giving their travelling fans a lot to cheer about with promising link-ups, but London Welsh’s defence were determined not to be broken down again.
Bedford saw a lot of possession in the final 10 minutes of the game, with most of it coming in the opposition’s half, but they were turned over in the Welsh 22 which allowed them to clear the danger.
Perkins piled the pressure on London Welsh’s back line, forcing many errors, one of which resulted in a penalty that the Blues kicked for goal instead of kicking to touch as many would expect. Jake Sharp pointed to the posts and converted to clinch a losing bonus point for Bedford.
Bedford had the last attack of the afternoon and they looked certain to score from it as they got desperately close to the try line, but the ball slipped loose and the hosts kicked the ball to touch to secure the 30-24 victory.
London Welsh: Thomas, Reynolds, Armitage (J Lewis 69), Barkley, Elder, Carlisle, Glynn (R Lewis 49), Marfo (Reeves 75), Morris (Allen 49), Cooper (Gilding 55), McNally, Corker, Skuse, Waters (Hodson 49), Leo (West 70)
Bedford: O’Conor, Tapley, Staff, Le Bourgeois (Sharp 55), Perkins, Dorrian (Jones 61), Burns (Taylor 65), Parilli-Ocampo, Clare (Vella 60), Currie (Lundberg 55), Howard (Flanagan 60), Tupai, Blanchet (Thompson-Stringer 55), Buggea, Fenton-Wells