Blues overcome Old Albanians challenge

Bedford Blues squad by Nigel Rudgard
Bedford Blues squad by Nigel Rudgard

Bedford got their pre-season underway tonight by putting six tries past visitors Old Albanians, as over 1,100 saw the Blues run out comfortable 40-5 winners.

A set of braces from number eight Joe Vandermolen and trialist Steve Ellis, on top of scores from James Currie and Paul Tupai ensured a solid performance at Goldington Road.

Old Albanians kicked off the evening game and the visitors took the initiative by seizing on some poor discipline by the Blues, as they nearly got in early through prop Brett McNamee but were let down by a forward pass.

Albanians came again after capitalising on some poor Blues ball control but Ellis put in a big hit to keep get a turnover and reclaim possession.

It was a shaky start from the Blues but 16 minutes in, a good kick into the corner from fly-half Steffan Jones saw Bedford put some pressure back onto their guests.

After a bodged lineout, Currie had the strength to barrel over for the first score and Mike LeBourgeois easily bagged the conversion.

Bedford didn’t let off the gas either, from the restart they kicked the ball straight at Andy Holloway’s side and Jones chased down well, Albanians scrambled though and got back into it briefly.

The reason Albanians were coming back into was down to the Blues poor discipline, but what they lacked in that, they had in vision, as Steve Ellis intercepted superbly and got the second try on 23 minutes to make it 12-0.

Moments later Bedford got another, off the back of a good driving scrum, Vandermolen gathered and bolted over to get his name on the score list; Jones added the extras to put the Blues on 19.

On the half hour mark after some Albanians substitutions, Blues made good territory off the back of a scrum as Peter White delivered well out to the backs.

Le Bourgeois managed to get right into the scoreboard corner and after a strong driving maul, captain for the match, Paul Tupai was able to touch down and Jones made a tricky conversion to put the Blues even further ahead.

As the half came to a close, Bedford looked to add to the tally after a cheeky intercept in Albanian territory, fullback Jim Wigglesworth seemed to get clear but there was a forward throw somewhere in the build-up and the half ended with the score at 26-0.

The interval saw the Blues switch around their front row and the whole pack came out all guns blazing, Jones sent a cheeky dink over the visitors defence and came within inches of a score but Alabanians managed to scramble.

The scrum was Bedford’s though and Vandermolen made short work of getting his second score, Jones embellished and took the score to 33-0.

The Blues were keeping up there pressure on the visitors and throwing some big tackles around through the likes of Tupai, the physicality of the match was showing as both sides made several replacements.

Referee Rob Warburton got serious on 53 minutes after he showed former Blue Jon Phillips a yellow for pulling a maul down, taking the visitors down to 14.

Blues wasted no time of the man advantage by working the next lineout and feeding Ellis at pace for his second, sharp notched the two to put the Blues on 40.

At the hour mark more replacements ensued as legs got tired, Blues were still dominant but the visitors weren’t giving up, as Bedford were making lots of slip ups and the likes of Nick Foster and Billy Johnson didn’t fail to give up the chase.

They got their desserts on 71 minutes as Sam Lunnon seized on a ball to run in down the right, the difference in class was evident though as Elliot Reeder fluffed his conversion.

Then Albanians came again through Ross Hamilton, this time though James Pritchard was switched on and managed to split up a pass.

With five minutes left on the clock, Albanians had blues 20 yards in front of the sticks and after a poor put in by Keiran Duffin at the scrum, they broke for the whitewash.

Bedford managed to play their way out briefly but Albanians kept coming to try and salvage some pride, Rowell Gordon tried hitting a gap through the Bedford defence but to no avail.

After a good lineout by Albanians, the visiting pack tried a line break but again Pritchard was able to intercept a pass and the game wrapped up, final score 40-5.

Bedford: Camillo Parilli-Ocampo (Jack Culverhouse, 50), Charlie Clare (TJ Harris, 40), James Currie (Tom Williams, 40), Paul Tupai, Brad Scharf (Phil Boulton, 65), Kennet O’Neil, Josh Buggea (Justin Blanchet, 50), Joe Vandermolen (Nick Fenton-Wells, 63), Peter White (Kieran Duffin, 50), Steffan Jones (Jake Sharp, 60), Dean Adamson, Steven Ellis (Ollie Dodge, 63), Mike Le Bourgeois (Henry Staff, 52), Pat Tapley (James Pritchard, 60), Jim Wigglesworth. T: James Currie, Steve Ellis 2, Joe Vandermolen 2, Paul Tupai. C: Mike LeBourgeois, Steffan Jones 3, Jake Sharp.

Old Albanians: Charlie Hughes (George Warner, 30 (Mike Cade, 60)), Brett McNamee (Jimmy Spiers, 60), Andy Berry (Rob Scillachi, 57), Jon Phillips, Ross Hamilton, (Rowell Gordon, 45), Sam Lunnon, Nick Stevens, Billy Johnson, Jordi Pasqualin, Will Magie, Matt Deane, Elliot Reeder (Dan Watt, 45), Dom Regan, Chris May (Jack Daly, 40), Richard Gregg (Nick Foster, 64). T: Sam Lunnon.

Attendance: 1,167

Referee: Rob Warburton

Assistant Referee’s: Lionel Spooner, Phil Watters

Star Blue: Joe Vandermolen, looked a real force at number eight and deserved his tries.