Blues Academy make it a hat-trick of victories

Blues Academy winger Jack Stapley powers forward
Blues Academy winger Jack Stapley powers forward

With a 20-8 win over the RAF U23 side to add to their victories over Oxford University U21 last Saturday and Wasps Academy U19s on Wednesday, the Blues Academy completed an impressive three wins in eight days.

The RAF are in the final stages of preparation for the Inter-Services competition which takes place at the end of November.

With a number of players missing because of representative games and a number missing due to injury and unavailability, the Blues made eight changes to the starting lineup that beat Wasps.

With the pitch at the impressive RAF Halton sporting facility in perfect condition, the Blues took an early lead after four minutes with a penalty from centre Cameron Gregory-Ring.

The RAF levelled the scores five minutes later with a penalty of their own, but the Bedford forwards began to gain the upper hand and were rewarded with a further three-point penalty from the boot of Gregory-Ring.

The Blues fought back into the RAF 22 and put on concerted pressure at a series of scrums.

After some good approach work from the pack, prop Hayden King crashed over for a try; Gregory–Ring converted and the Blues were 13-3 ahead.

Bedford turned around at half-time and continued the forward pressure.

The Blues’ next try was well worked and finished off when centre Stuart Livesey beat his man with a quick step to score under the posts. Full-back Scott Lyle converted the score.

The RAF came back at the Blues to score a try in injury time, but Bedford ran out as winners by 20 points to eight.

Blues Academy director Denis Ormesher said: “As we knew, the RAF were much stronger than when we played them six weeks ago.

“They have had an extra six weeks’ preparation and had the squad that will play in their games against the Army and the Navy in the Inter-Services competition at the end of the month.”

“We were delighted to see how the Blues coped with the physicality of the older RAF side.

“Our squad were mainly 17 and 18-year-olds yet they dominated the RAF in the scrum and lineout, and were a match for them in the contact areas.”

He added: “To achieve the three wins they have in eight days has been the result of a real squad effort, with every member of the squad playing a part.

“It has been demanding physically and there were some tired Bedford bodies at the end of the RAF game, but they should be proud of the results of the week.

“We now have a week to recover for our next game, another tough encounter, this time against Loughborough University U21 at home next Saturday.”