Skippy jumps at the chance to sign contract extension with the Blues

James Pritchard
James Pritchard

Bedford Blues and Canada’s all-time leading point scorer James Pritchard has signed a new deal to remain at Goldington Road for the coming Greene King IPA Championship campaign.

Pritchard, 35, who has just enjoyed his testimonial season with the Blues, will return to Goldington Road following his involvement in the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Canada.

Speaking about signing for another season, Pritchard said: “Anyone who knows me, knows that there is only one club that I want to play for and I am delighted to have my future secured for next season.

“I have grown not only to like Bedford Blues, but to love every single aspect of this fantastic club that I have had the pleasure of representing for 10 years of my professional career.

“As well as having the huge honour of captaining the club I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved with some fantastic moments at Goldington Road over the years and I intend to do all that I can to ensure that there are plenty more to come next season.”

Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine added: “It has always been our intention to keep James at the club and I, along with Mike Rayer, am absolutely delighted that he has put pen to paper.

“Pritch has been a true talisman for the Blues since he first joined us and I know that he will be doing everything he can to push us back up towards the top end of the table next season.

“He’s got a busy summer ahead of him as he prepares for his fourth World Cup and, while we will all be cheering him on, we can’t wait for him to return to the club.”

Pritchard - or Skippy as he is commonly known - grew up in Parkes, Australia, where he was egged on by his grandfather to take up as many sports as possible. After flirting with Rugby League and the Parramatta Eels, Pritchard made the switch to Union and signing for Randwick.

An impressive start to his Randwick career followed, but the arrival of Wendell Sailor and Matt Rogers saw Pritchard’s chances of starting diminish.

A call from the then Blues director of rugby Colin Jackson gave Pritchard the opportunity to travel to England and play for Bedford and he’s remained on these shores.

Despite stints away from Goldington Road with Plymouth Albion, Perpignan and Northampton Saints, Bedford always remained in Pritchard’s mind and when the chance to return to the club came in 2006, he jumped at the opportunity and has remained ever since.