Bedford Blues keep cup hopes alive with London Scottish victory

Image: Claire Jones / Twitter

Bedford Blues’ Championship Cup campaign was hanging by a thread at the halfway point of the pool stage on Friday night, but victory against London Scottish have kept them in with an outside chance of qualification.

A new look team saw thirteen changes to the starting line up for the Blues, with Seán French and Kieran Curran the only players retaining their starting jerseys following last weekend’s defeat at Caldy.

Read: In form Caldy steal last gasp victory against Bedford Blues

In an almost predictably scrappy opening, Scottish were the first on the board as the ball found Will Panday with acres of space on the right wing to dive over in the corner after 12 minutes.

The home side hit back immediately; Seán French continuing his run of try-scoring form following a series of penalties for the home side, in which Scottish were lucky to escape without a yellow card.

Grimoldby, on kicking duties in the absence of Will Maisey, converted the extras to give the home side an early 7-5 lead.

Charles Rylands scores his first try for the Blues (Image: Claire Jones / Twitter)

In an half of few openings, it was the visitors who threatened to take a slim half-time lead as Robbie McCallum darted through the smallest of gaps to run in under the posts.

However, the Blues managed to level it up with the last play of the half; the ball finding its way out to the right wing where Charles Rylands bulldozed over in the corner for his first try in Blues colours to make it twelve points apiece.

Blues take control

The Blues came out of the traps like greyhounds in the second half and immediately regained the lead thanks to Pat Tapley’s burst of speed on the left wing, matched by the pacey Jake Garside who finished the move off under the posts.

Luca Petrozzi had a huge chance to equalise ten minutes later but bizarrely stopped his full-length run with no one around him, much to the bemusement of the 2,537 fans in attendance but they did score their try moments later through Luke Mehson.

Petrozzi was withdrawn moments after, with the visitors two points shy of Bedford Blues in a game that was beginning to open up but his replacement, Ed Hoadley was shown a yellow card having only been on the field for a matter of seconds.

The Blues hit back in the try column from the resulting penalty thanks to Jack Hughes and with Grimoldby nailing the extras, Bedford had opened up a nine-point gap.

Image: Claire Jones / Twitter

The ball was almost exclusively in Scottish territory as the clock ticked past the hour mark and despite Hoadley returning from the bin, the Blues extended their lead thanks to Seán French’s second try of the evening.

It took the Blues to an unassailable 33-17 lead and perhaps released the shackles somewhat as the inventiveness and the flair that the Goldington Road faithful love to see was introduced in spades.

Joel Matavesi added a try of his own late on to rub salt in Scottish wounds and it cemented a dominant second half display from Mike Rayer’s side who continue to stay alive in the Championship Cup with a 38-17 victory.

Tough ties await

Next week’s opponents will prove to be a sterner test as the Blues visit Coventry at Butts Park Arena before completing the pool stage at Goldington Road against Doncaster Knights, who already have three wins from three.

Those two face off in Coventry on Saturday afternoon while Jersey Reds host Ealing in Pool One, with Caldy travelling to Ampthill in Pool Three alongside Cornish Pirates vs Richmond.

Nottingham beat Hartpury 24-12 in the other game on Friday night in Pool One, but both are chasing the coat tails of Jersey and Ealing ahead of them.