RFU Championship: Moseley 15 Bedford 23
A strong defensive effort from Bedford Blues was enough to earn them a 23-15 victory at Moseley on Saturday afternoon.
Playing their first match of 2015, the Blues’ effort and tenacity coupled with their dominance at the set piece warranted a victory that made sure it was a happy start to the New Year.
Restricting Saturday’s hosts to five penalty scores, the Blues scored three tries through Ollie Dodge, Pat Tapley and Darryl Veenendaal; and continue their impressive form in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Bedford, who just fell short of ending Bristol’s unbeaten run in their last outing, started 2015 the same way they ended the last, by scoring a try inside just three minutes.
Fly-half Jake Sharp’s cross field kick was bundled into touch by Moseley’s Drew Cheshire on the right wing.
However from the resulting Blues line-out, the ball was shipped in to midfield and inside centre Dodge made the better of some poor defensive tackling to ground the ball under the posts.
Skipper for the day James Pritchard converted, and the Blues were 7-0 ahead early on.
Despite their dominance at the set-piece, somehow Bedford found themselves on the wrong end of the penalty decisions.
That allowed Moseley to venture into the 22, and a strong maul spun its way inside before being pulled down illegally by a Bedford forward; and give the hosts’ number 10 Ollie Thomas the chance to score his side’s first points of the New Year, something he did with ease after nine minutes. Blues’ potent attacking play reappeared after just 12 minutes, to send them into a 12-3 lead.
Bedford turned over a Moseley line-out inside their 22, allowing Veenendaal to box-kick clear.
The pacey Dean Adamson somehow caught up with the kick to catch it on the half way line, to put the visitors on the front foot.
Michael Le Bourgeois was on his shoulder to run the ball another 30 yards; it looked like the outside centre would score himself, but the pace of Scott Armstrong prevented him to do so by pulling him down on the 22 line.
Yet with Moseley’s defence all at sea, Sharp kicked into the open space again, this time to allow Tapley to show his pace to get to it first and slid over.
It looked like Mike Rayer’s side could run away with it, but Moseley’s pack fought its way back into the first 40 and two Thomas penalties meant the score was 12-9.
Blues created one more chance in the first half, but this time they weren’t to be as potent as earlier and score.
Great defensive pressure by Adamson put the Blues on the counter, and Le Bourgeois side stepped an opponent to reach the line, however defensive pressure from inside meant he was unable to ground the ball with control and his effort was disallowed, as a result, Bedford’s half-time lead remained just three points.
The second half was dominated by both sides’ defences, with only one time a team breaching their opponents’ line, and that was in the Blues’ favour.
An exchange of penalties in quick succession after 53 minutes meant the lead was still just three.
It was a case of Déjà vu on the hour as it was another exchange of penalties as both sides’ tempers began to flair in the Birmingham mud-bath, before Veenendaal’s match clinching score.
A dominant Blues attacking scrum inside their opponents’ 22 had a huge blindside to it, something the South African scrum-half spotted to sprint over.
The hosts’ knew they had to score twice if they were to get a win, and they were desperate to break down the Blues’ defence, but that never looked like happening as Bedford held firm.
Moseley: Stefan Thorp, Adam Caves (Reece Marshall 12), Simon Gardiner (Scott Tolmie 76), Nile Dacres, Greg Charlton, Neil Mason (Dave Hilton 68), Ed Siggery, Chris Brightwell, Sam Brown (Charley Thomas 62), Ollie Thomas, Scott Armstrong, Will Owen, Greg King, Drew Cheshire, Mike Penn (Mike Powell 53).
Replacements not used: Will Hooley, Alex Day.
P: Ollie Thomas x5.
Bedford: Tom Williams (Johnny Harris 65), Charlie Clare (TJ Harris 69), James Currie (Phil Boulton 60), Mike Howard (Ben Gulliver 60), Harry Wells, Justin Blanchet (Joe Vandermolen 65), Josh Buggea, Paul Tupai, Darryl Veenendaal (Peter White 69), Jake Sharp, Dean Adamson, Ollie Dodge (Henry Staff 75), Mike Le Bourgeois, Pat Tapley, James Pritchard (C).
T: Ollie Dodge, Pat Tapley and Darryl Veenendaal. C: James Pritchard. P: James Pritchard x2.