The Greene King IPA Championship fixtures for the 2017/18 season have been announced with Bedford Blues opening their account away to Richmond on Saturday, September 2 before hosting London Scottish at Goldington Road a week later.
September will be a busy and difficult opening month with five fixtures for Mike Rayer’s men, including Ealing Trailfinders away, Bristol’s title favourite galaticos at home, before finishing the month with the always enjoyable trip to Jersey to face the Reds.
Bedford will start October at home on a Saturday for the arrival of the first of three Yorkshire sides as Rotherham Titans come to town before a break from league action for a brace British & Irish Cup fixtures, sandwiched by a trip to Headingley to face Carnegie.
Blues will play two of their three November matches at home, both under the Friday night lights, firstly against the Green and Whites of Nottingham and latterly versus Championship newcomers Hartpury.
Between those fixtures, Rayer’s troops will travel to Castle Park to face the sizeable task of Doncaster Knights having made the play-offs for the past two seasons.
December starts with the long journey to Cornish Pirates before another Cup break in the festive season ahead of a pre-Christmas showdown away at London Scottish. The big holiday bonanza at Goldington Road will be on Saturday, December 30 against Ealing Trailfinders.
There will be only one league match in January as the Blues head west to face promotion chasing Bristol at Ashton Gate on the last weekend of the month.
February will be a quieter with only two games, the first at home to Jersey which will also double as the club’s annual two-day beer festival with England facing Wales that same weekend, while they also visit Titans a week later.
March sees the Blues welcome both Yorkshire and Doncaster Knights on Saturday afternoons in another challenging period of the calendar, interrupted by the trip to Nottingham on St Patrick’s weekend.
The final month of the season starts with an away trip to Hartpury before two home encounters to close the campaign against Cornish Pirates and Richmond respectively.
Chairman of Bedford and the Greene King IPA Championship, Geoff Irvine, said: “As we continue with our planning and preparation for next season it’s clear that there’s a great deal to be excited about.
“With next season being the first one without the play-offs - which have been replaced by a new prize money incentive - the competition among teams will be as high as ever as they look to play for their stake in the winning fund and secure their position in the league at the end of the season.”
2017/18 Bedford Blues’ Championship fixtures
1/2/3 Sep - TBC – Richmond v Bedford Blues
Sat 9th Sep – 3pm – Bedford Blues v London Scottish
15/16/17 Sep - TBC - Ealing Trailfinders v Bedford Blues
Sat 23rd Sep - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Bristol Rugby
29/30 Sep – TBC – Jersey Reds v Bedford Blues
Sat 7th Oct - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Rotherham Titans
13/14/15 Oct - B&I Cup
20/21/22 Oct - B&I Cup
27/28/29 Oct - TBC - Yorkshire Carnegie v Bedford Blues
Fri 10th Nov – 7:45pm - Bedford Blues v Nottingham
17/18/19 Nov – TBC – Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues
Fri 24th Nov - 7.45pm - Bedford Blues v Hartpury
1/2/3 Dec – TBC – Cornish Pirates v Bedford Blues
8/9/10 Dec - B&I Cup
15/16/17 Dec - B&I Cup
Sat 23rd Dec – 3pm – London Scottish v Bedford Blues
Sat 30th Dec - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Ealing Trailfinders
12/13/14 Jan - B&I Cup
19/20/21 Jan - B&I Cup
26/27/28 Jan – TBC – Bristol Rugby v Bedford Blues
9/10/11 Feb - TBC - Bedford Blues v Jersey Reds
16/17/18 Feb - TBC – Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues
Sat 3rd Mar - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Yorkshire Carnegie
16/17/18 Mar - TBC - Nottingham v Bedford Blues
Sat 24th Mar - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Doncaster Knights
6/7/8 April - TBC - Hartpury v Bedford Blues
Sat 14th Apr - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates
Sat 28th Apr - 3pm - Bedford Blues v Richmond