Bedford finished their pre-season campaign with an impressive 27-13 win at Welsh Giants the Scarlets at Llandovery’s Church Bank on Saturday afternoon
Despite trailing 13-5 at the interval, Mike Rayer’s men put in a big performance to oversee the Pro 12 region with tries coming courtesy of Joel Conlon, Mark Flanagan, Dean Adamson and the evergreen Paul Tupai.
Just as important though was the physicality displayed by the Blues along with a staunch defence that limited the chances available to the hosts - something that Bedford will be eager to carry on once the Greene King IPA Championship season kicks off next weekend.
Bedford trailed the game 3-0 following a Steve Shingler penalty but the response was an excellent one. Myles Dorrian had placed a penalty deep into the Scarlet’s 22 which gave the forwards an excellent platform to execute their rolling maul with Conlon popping up with the ball.
Shingler added a second penalty of the afternoon to inch his team ahead. but both sides were determined not to have their defensive lines breached with defence being a focal point of the game.
Despite Blues skipper for the day Phil Boulton, being binned, Bedford came close to scoring when Jordan Burns scythed his way through the defence only to be denied by an excellent tackle from Ioan Nicholas.
But the advantage went back to the hosts when winger Tom Williams managed to find space and galloped 40 metres to score his team’s only try of the afternoon with Shingler adding the extras.
Bedford looked to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half-time but Steffan Jones well struck penalty from long range hit the upright and bounced away.
After the break, the Blues took the game to the hosts with Flanagan crossing the whitewash following a great team build-up which involved excellent handling. Sharp added the extras to make it 13-12 and then chipped over a penalty to give Bedford the lead.
Bedford then added a third of the afternoon with another brilliant team try which started in the Blues own half and was finally dotted down by Adamson with Sharp converting superbly from out wide.
The Blues remained in control of the final quarter thanks to some excellent forward play and they got their just desserts when Tupai went over for a try in the final move of the game.
Bedford: Steffan Jones; George Perkins, Michael Le Bourgeois, Ollie Dodge, Sam Blanchet; Myles Dorrian, Jordan Burns; Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Charlie Clare, Phil Boulton, Harry Wells, Mark Flanagan, Justin Blanchet, Josh Buggea, Joel Conlon.
Replacements: Sam James, Jack Culverhouse, James Currie, Mike Howard, Paul Tupai, Pete White, Jake Sharp, Henry Staff, Pat Tapley, Dean Adamson, Piers O’Conor