The Bedford Blues Academy ended their season by winning the inaugural Bedford Blues U19 10-a-side tournament at Goldington Road.
The competition was designed to showcase the player development work being carried out by a number of Championship clubs, as well as giving players a competitive focus to end the season.
With eight sides participating in two pools of four, there was non-stop rugby all day.
In addition to Bedford Blues, sides from London Scottish, Moseley, Nottingham, Worcester Warriors, Ealing Trailfinders, Cambridge University and East Midlands Rugby Union fought it out in the first competition of its kind.
The Blues started their games with a comprehensive 17-5 victory against tournament favourites, the RFU-funded Worcester Warriors Academy.
Bedford’s second game was against East Midlands. The Blues took a five-point half-time lead, but the EM side scored two good tries, one converted, to win the tie 12-5.
However, Bedford bounced back to beat Moseley 36-7 with tries from George Silk (2), Chris Easton (2), Nico Defeo, and Josh Fadden, while Worcester, beat East Midlands 26-7.
With the calculators and spreadsheets working overtime and Bedford and Worcester neck and neck in the pool, Bedford eventually squeezed through to the final as a result of the two sides’ head-to-head record.
Worcester went on to win the Plate competition, with a strong performance seeing them defeat London Scottish 47-5.
Bedford Blues then faced Nottingham Academy in the final of the main tournament.
The Blues took a half-time lead of seven points with a try from Luke Hibberd, converted by Cameron Gregory-Ring.
Nottingham narrowed the lead to 7-5 with one minute to go, before Blues captain Chris Easton ended the game with a try, converted by Gregory-Ring, to give Bedford a 14-5 victory.
Bedford Academy director Denis Ormesher said: “We were delighted with the Blues performance over the whole day.
“The quality of rugby from all the teams was excellent, and we saw some quality players, many who will go on to play in the Championship, and maybe beyond in the next few seasons.”
“There are too many people to thank individually for helping to make the tournament a success, but a special thanks go to the coaches, physios, team managers and players of the participating clubs, who performed so well over the day, at the end of a long hard season for them all.
Pictures: The Bedford Blues Academy won the inaugural Bedford Blues U19 10-a-side tournament at Goldington Road. Pictures courtesy of AlastairRobinson and bgrphotography