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Bedford Blues V London Irish

By LI Bohemian
September 20 2016

This was my first visit to this well known and often mentioned ground, my fellow supporters and I travelled by the X5 bus direct from Bicester to Bedford, for something like £13.50 return, so along with the match day ticket £16 I could have got away with less than £30 for the day, but we all know that’s the dream of a mad man.

We called into the Brewhouse and Kitchen on the way to the ground, a micro brewery good ales, no Guinness though, next the Cricketers, lots of Guinness.
We strolled into Goldington Road ground, to a flurry of queues for drinks and food, so that doesn’t change from Twickenham to Bicester RUFC.

I noticed Nick Kennedy looking very pensive as he stood under the posts, at the top end of the sloping pitch, this should be Irish’s biggest test of the season so far, although the atmosphere at the ground was not intimidating it was a unique pitch.

Soon after the Kick off, a scrum was awarded to Irish, and a pretty decent shove resulted in a Penalty, which was converted by Bell.

In the previous two games Irish played a territorial game and pinned the teams back in the corners or made them try to run it from there own half, this was the right day to play those tactics, but Irish, whether because of the changes in personnel of the back three or a conscious decision to tinker, did not clear the decks and tried moving the ball through hands, and rucking over tackles. The official for the day seemed pretty unforgiving to both sides and was quick to show he was the man with the whistle, this said it was no excuse for not playing safe and to the game plan that had worked so well, Bedford are awarded a penalty which is kicked, Irish get some possession and work their way down the pitch, only to throw an interception to the winger Tapley who seemed like the fastest man on the pitch, and had a very good game, to score in the corner, Irish with more faffing about in their own half, gave away a penalty, followed by another, and countless spills of the ball and passes going behind players, the game got messy, this suited Bedford who pressurised the play.

Lucky for Irish Myles Dorian did not have his normally assured kicking boots on.

Then out of nowhere, right before Sir's eyes, a Bedford player trips some one and is off to the bin, this seems to rouse the Irish from their 11-3 deficit to play the ball into the corner and from the line out drive for Ben Franks to score a try, this was followed by a try from Johnny Williams, which was converted by Bell.
Half time and Irish are back in it at 11-15, but only just.

Straight from the off Irish get a good line-break through Ransom, the ball is worked to Topsy Ojo to touch down, Bell kicks the extras, to make the score 22-11.

Then Paice is sin binned, for what seemed pretty a harsh call, as it happened quite near to me, but it may have been the usual, team yellow for the accumulation of pens, this incident seemed to turn the tide back to Bedford and they played some of their best rugby, scoring two good tries and taking full advantage of the slope and extra man.

23-22 to Bedford, Irish now have a full complement and at last play a game plan that keeps the ball in Bedford’s half. Bell, who did have his kicking boots on, slotted a long range penalty to put Irish ahead, then after a lot of defensive play on the Blues line for what seemed an age, the sustained pressure resulted in a try for Northcote-Green.

With the score at 23-30, Bedford pushed for a draw, using the slope, and Irish seemed to get a bit skittish and retreated for the final part of the game, to their own 22.

A pointless match time clock was showing 82mins so Bell kicked the ball out on the full, but in this League any technology is seen as witchcraft, so to howls of laughter, a line-out was called, only the official knows when the time is up, luckily the line-out was stolen and the game finally finished.

The Irish team showed massive relief at the final whistle and did get out of jail, through hard endeavor, but a win is a win. All in all the game itself was great to watch, the ground was good and proper old school, the Blues supporters where brilliant.

Caught the X5 home with thoughts of 5 points away.

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Bedford Blues V London Irish
The Craic (IP Logged)
20/09/2016 09:07
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Re: Bedford Blues V London Irish
Finno (IP Logged)
20/09/2016 11:28
Excellent report, concurs exactly with my memory is the day!

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