Jones strikes late to snatch victory for Bedford Blues in Ealing

First for sport
First for sport

Bedford Blues fought back in the dying minutes to secure a 21-23 win over Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues secured all four points in the last minute of the game courtesy of a last minute penalty from substitute Steffan Jones.

Ealing Trailfinders opened the scoring in the seventh minute courtesy of a finely struck penalty from Alex Davies after the home side piled the pressure on the Bedford forwards during the opening scrum leading it to collapse.

The Blues didn’t take long to respond as Jake Sharp sent a penalty over the posts after the Trailfinders were penalised for not rolling away in the ruck.

The home side responded almost immediately as they went through the attacking phases before setting up a driving maul which saw the ball fall in to the path of Tristan Roberts who sent a chip across field in to the path of Tobias Howley- Berridge who dotted the ball down but Davies failed to convert.

Ealing didn’t stop there; their second try came just three minutes afterwards as the Trailfinders formed a driving maul which sent Alun Walker over the whitewash and Davies kicked the extras, putting the home side 15-3 ahead.

Bedford kicked in to gear as they formed a driving maul themselves just ahead of the Ealing 5m line, and some solid pressure on the home side’s defensive line saw the dismissal of Alex Bradley who was shown yellow for an infringement.

Bedford made the extra man count shortly after as they managed to get their first try on the board. Jordan Burns found the ball in his arms and managed to work the space before sending the ball out wide to O’Connor who was brought down just inches ahead of the line, but O’Conor popped the ball to Adamson who was sprinting down the line and the winger managed to bundle the ball over in the left hand corner before Sharp kicked the extras to make it 15-10.

Seven minutes afterwards, Bedford scored their second try of the game thanks to great vision from Hayden Thompson-Stringer who found space in and amongst Ealing’s 22 before making some ground with the ball which was then offloaded to O’Conor who was out wide with a clear run ahead of him, and the full-back grounded the ball before Sharp converted the extra three points.

The return of Bradley to the pitch pumped motivation in to Ealing as they looked to take control of the game, but Davies failed to kick a penalty as it fell just short of the posts.

However, the number 9 redeemed himself just five minutes later as poor discipline from the Blues led to a further penalty which he sent over the posts to extend Ealing’s lead.

Davies had another opportunity to get another three points through a penalty but again he failed to hit the target as the ball drifted just wide and referee Steve Lee blew for half-time with the Trailfinders leading 18-17.

The first 20 minutes of the second half saw a terrific defensive display from both sides as neither could find any way to break their opponents down.

Ealing were throwing just about everything at the Blues back line, but Bedford held their ground and kept responding with their own attacking waves – but the Ealing held the Blues attack at arm’s length, leaving the game evenly matched.

The introduction of Biyi Alo in the 65th minute was certainly a turning point for the visitors as he took control in the breakdown many times and gave the Blues the opportunity to clear their lines.

An excellent defensive wave from the Saracens prop in the 71st minute gave Bedford the opportunity to go ahead with a penalty which Steffan Jones sent over the posts from 40 metres out and things began to look very promising for Bedford.

Ealing had other ideas though as they too were awarded a penalty in a very dangerous position which Davies sent over the posts and Ealing were leading 21-20 with only six minutes left on the clock.

A strong fought battle in the scrum came from Bedford though as Mike Howard picked off the ball during the break down and the home side were penalised for infringement which set the stage for the heroic Jones to send the penalty over the posts in the last kick of the game.

The Welshman came on for Tom Griffiths in the 57th minute and his kicking was 100 per cent up until this moment. He held his nerves and converted the penalty just before the referee blew for the full time whistle.

The Blues secure yet another victory on the road to a tough opposition and they welcome a well-deserved week off before welcoming Yorkshire Carnegie to Goldington Road on November 7.

Ealing: Harries (Daniels 68), Stephenson, Howley-Berridge, Wheatcroft, Chesters, Roberts (Walker 74), Davies, Kilbane (Davis 47), Walker, Holford (Rodman 55), C Jones (Orr 19-30), Preocanin, L Jones, Bradley (Ellis 70), York (Orr 74). Replacement not used: Gibson.

Blues: O’Conor (Williams 69), Perkins, Staff, Griffiths (Jones 57), Adamson, Sharp (Dorrian 69), Burns (White 70), Lundberg, Clare, Parilli-Ocampo (Alo 59), Howard, Flanagan (Wells 60), Fenton-Wells, Buggea, Thompson-Stringer (Tupai 47).

Referee: Steve Lee.

Attendance: 589.