Back-to-back losses for the Blues with narrow defeat in Doncaster

Image: Kie Fewster / Bedford Blues / 'X'

Bedford Blues suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season as they succumbed to a 26-20 loss at the home of Doncaster Knights, Castle Park.

It is a venue that the Blues have had scarce luck in throughout the last decade – they haven’t won there since 2012 – and that run continues despite a brief chance of a dramatic late victory.

Jack Metcalf’s try for the hosts inside the second minute set the tone for Bedford Blues who would spend the afternoon chasing the game and they would never find the lead in a frustrating time in South Yorkshire.

A serious injury to Knights hooker, Tom Doughty punctuated the early moments of the opening period but when the Blues resumed, their attack lacked precision as they were denied by a stubborn home defence.

Russell Bennett’s penalty after fifteen minutes extended the Doncaster lead and it would take until the half hour mark for Bedford to get on the board courtesy of a James Fish try.

A sin bin for Harry Wilson for a high tackle on Dean Adamson opened the door for the Blues, but it would be Doncaster who would score next as a penalty on the stroke of half-time extended their lead to 11-5 at the interval.

Late French try only enough for bonus points

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first as Doncaster scored their second try of the game thanks to Harrison Courtney before they were restored to a full fifteen players.

Ten minutes later, Kieran Curran made an instant impact off the bench by reducing the gap to six points but Bennett was on hand once more to kick over another penalty to keep Bedford at arms length.

Kieran Curran at the bottom of the pile to score Image: Kie Fewster / Bedford Blues / ‘X’

More often than not, the Bedford Blues’ running game provides exciting and high-scoring rugby but Doncaster’s third try showed that it can sometimes backfire as Maliq Holden stole it in midfield and was provided with the easiest of walk-ins to seemingly seal the contest.

James Lennon hit back almost immediately with a try of his own for the Blues and when Seán French touched down Bedford’s bonus point try, there was an outside chance of Mike Rayer’s side snatching an unlikely victory.

A forward pass in the final play of the game quickly dashed any hope though as Doncaster held on for a deserved 26-20 victory to leapfrog the Blues into fourth in the Championship table while Bedford picked up two bonus points.

Elsewhere, Coventry jumped to the top of the Championship with an entertaining 40-38 victory at London Scottish while Cornish Pirates elevated themselves to third with a 41-17 win against Nottingham.

Hartpury were 31-7 victors on Merseyside as they comfortably saw off Caldy while Ampthill’s home game against second-placed Ealing was postponed due to a frozen pitch at the Olney Field.

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