Blues move clear at the top with British & Irish Cup victory over Ulster A

Jordan Burns touches down for the Blues. Picture (c) June Essex
Jordan Burns touches down for the Blues. Picture (c) June Essex

Bedford Blues extended their lead in pool two of the British & Irish cup to five points after defeating Ulster A 27-18 at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.

Bedford’s three tries came from Steffan Jones, Piers O’Conor and Jordan Burns, along with 12 points from the boot of Jake Sharp – maintaining the Blues’ impressive 100 per cent win record at home.

Bedford started the brightest when Alex Lundberg charged down a clearance kick attempt only for the ball to bounce past the dead ball line, allowing Ulster to clear their lines.

Bedford carried on applying pressure and they were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute which Sharp sent over the posts with ease to put Bedford 3-0 up.

Bedford looked set to extend their lead with a try after a great attacking wave that saw both Adamson and O’Conor link up well before Adamson sent a chip over, but the full-back couldn’t get hold of possession before the ball went dead.

The Blues finally got their reward when O’Conor was sent gliding over the line. Burns picked up the ball before working his way in to space before offloading the ball out wide to O’Conor who grounded the ball, allowing Sharp to kick the extras.

Ulster responded in great fashion almost immediately when Rory Scholes was sent over the try line after the Blues defence was exposed on the right, but Windsor sent the conversion just short of the posts, keeping the score at 10-5.

Bedford squandered a number of opportunities to extend their lead when they sent two kickable penalties to touch instead of aiming for the posts, allowing the Ravens to pick up their own penalty which gifted them the chance to clear their lines.

Bedford’s decisions turned out to be costly when Ulster broke away with pace, sending Jonny Mcphillips over the line deep in the corner. Windsor sent a curling conversion over the posts to put his side 10-12 ahead.

Bedford needed to respond, and respond they did. A lightning break from Alex Lundberg set up the attack before Joel Conlon picked up the ball and made the extra ground, allowing James Pritchard to send Jordan Burns over the line. Sharp added the extra three points, giving Bedford a well-deserved 17-12 lead on the stroke of half-time.

With the half-time talk still ringing in their ears, Bedford pushed on and they were awarded a penalty which Sharp sent over the posts, extending the Blues’ lead to 20-12.

Harry Wells broke almost immediately from the restart but the Blues couldn’t keep hold of possession and Ulster kicked clear.

Ulster continued to pile the pressure on the Blues, allowing them to pick up two penalties which were both sent over by Windsor to make it 20-18.

However, the fly-half squandered a third penalty opportunity which would have sent his team in front as his kick drifted just wide of the posts.

Bedford pushed on once again, though, and they scored their third try of the evening through Jones. The attacking wave was started with a chip over the top by Sharp and the ball bounced in to the path of Jones who kicked the ball on before crossing the line; Sharp converted once again and Bedford looked home and dry.

Windsor were gifted yet another shot at the posts after Ulster were awarded a penalty in the last minute of play but he sent it just wide of the upright for the third successive time.

Ulster came fighting back, though, as they carried the ball in to the Blues 22, but the attack fizzled out as the ball was passed in to touch.

Bedford picked up the penalty from the resulting line-out before Sharp sent it to the stands to mark the referee’s final whistle.

Bedford Blues return to action in the Greene King IPA championship when they make the trip down the coast to play bottom of the league Cornish Pirates on Sunday afternoon.