Blues fall to narrow Irish defeat

Bedford Blues' Pat Tapley
Bedford Blues' Pat Tapley

Bedford produced a dogged display against former Premiership side London Irish during an enthralling encounter at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon, ultimately defeated 30-23.

The hosts showed some real attacking intent early on, although Irish opened the scoring when Tommy Bell kicked a penalty.

Bedford were back on the attack once more though s Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Chris Judge, Ed Taylor Will Carrick-Smith and George Edgson all having a crack at the line before the ref awarded a penalty which Myles Dorrian dispatched to level the scores.

The Goldington Road crowd were soon off their seats when Pat Tapley intercepted the ball on the edge of the Blues 22 and sprinted 80 metres for an unconverted score on 10 minutes.

Elliot Clements-Hill was off target with a penalty from 45 metres, but Blues extended their lead shortly afterwards as Dean Adamson won a penalty and Dorrian did the rest to make it 11-3.

The Blues were to pick up more penalties but a swirling wind denied Dorrian as his effort went right of the posts.

Bedford then had to play the rest of the half with 14 as Josh Buggea was carded for tripping the Exiles scrum half as he attempted a quick penalty.

Irish made the numerical advantage count on 26 minutes, Ben Franks dotting down to close the gap.

Clements-Hill had another opportunity from a long way out in the 39th minute but his effort was caught by the wind and again drifted wide.

The visitors made the extra man count in stoppage time, former Blue Ben Ransom’s delightful grubber kick pounced on by Johnny Williams to score, Bell’s boot making it 15-11 at the interval.

The second half saw the Exiles go further head at 22-11 as Topsy Ojo dotted and Bell converted to make it 22-11.

Bedford stuck to their task though as Edgson crossing the whitewash for an unconverted try.

Two minutes later and Bedford were ahead as they scored a wonderfully worked try, Jordan Burns’ darting break ending with a delightful pass to Tapley who sped over, Jake Sharp’s conversion making it 23-22.

However, Irish started to win some penalties, as Bell kicked one to make it 25-23 on the hour and sealed victory when Max Northcote-Green won the race to score as Irish clung on for victory.