Bedford Blues kicked off their Championship campaign with a bonus point 36-7 win over Richmond on Saturday.
On their last visit to this ground seven months ago Bedford were on the wrong end of a 49-26 scoreline.
This time it was all smiles as a dominating attacking performance in the first half was complimented with a strong defensive display in the second to ensure the Blues got off to the best possible start.
Bedford went into the interval leading 36-0 thanks to a brace of tries from Dean Adamson and one apiece for Ben Cooper, Howard Packman and Tom Lindsay.
Richmond fired back early in the second period thanks to a converted Jason Phipps score but the Blues laid on a defensive clinic after that to grab maximum points.
It took Bedford just four minutes to get the scoreboard rolling when the hosts were pinged for not rolling away and Will Hooley converted the penalty.
Two minutes later and it was 8-0 as another penalty went Bedford’s way and Hooley sent the ball to the corner.
Lindsay found his man with the throw-in and Cooper was on-hand to slam the ball down over the try line.
The Blues were certainly enjoying the fine pitch as they ran in a second try in the 15th minute. After withstanding pressure, the Blues punted the ball long into Richmond’s 22 for a lineout and the forwards did their thing before Adamson’s pace allowed him to run under the uprights. Hooley converted.
Just a few minutes later Packman, who was in fine form during pre-season, continued his scoring habit with a well-worked try from the back of a driving maul which Hooley converted to make it 22-0.
Richmond’s cause wasn’t helped when Luc Jones was carded on the half-hour mark for intentionally knocking on and the Blues made them pay.
The resulting penalty went to touch and, after the forwards secured possession, Lee Dickson and Michael Le Bourgeois linked up to set up Adamson for the try. Hooley once again converted.
Richmond went down to 13 men after Jordan Simpson-Hefft received a yellow card for the same infringement as Jones. Once again, Richmond were punished as Hooley sent the ball to touch and the lineout functioned perfectly for the forwards to set up Lindsay.
Hooley converted for a 36-0 lead at the break.
Just two minutes into the second half the hosts’ Phipps managed to smuggle the ball over the try line and Freddie Gabbitass converted to cut the deficit to 29 points.
But Bedford rolled up their sleeves and put on a defensive display to keep Richmond at bay. Time and again Richmond went on the attack as they enjoyed the majority of possession, but Bedford weren’t budging an inch.
Led by Le Bourgeois and ably assisted by the likes of Alex Rae, Will Carrick-Smith, Ben Adams and Rich Lane, the defence stood firm and refused to be breached again.
The Blues have their first home fixture of the new season at Goldington Road this Saturday when they entertain London Scottish (3pm).