Bedford Blues jumped up another place in the Greene King IPA Championship table on Saturday afternoon as they hosted Doncaster Knights, who had sat directly above them in the division on another blustery day at Goldington Road.
Sam Leeming, standing in at fly half in the absence of Will Hooley, was the first on the scoresheet with a simple penalty as both teams traded big hits in midfield in the opening stages; Bedford gaining the upper hand due to early Knights indiscipline.
The Blues soon took advantage, a line out on the opposition 22 finding its way to Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas who charged through two tackles before feeding Joe Atkinson who bundled over the try line.
With Leeming adding the extras, Bedford found themselves 10-0 up having settled into the game far quicker than the Yorkshire outfit.
Leeming, seeing a lot of the ball from fly half, nearly extended the Blues’ lead with an excellent break from his own half but spilled it 20 yards out as Bedford exerted their dominance, helped by some crunching hits from Oli Curry and Robbie Smith in defence.
It wasn’t long however before that lead was increased, a powerful driving maul leaving the Knights in a pile as hooker Smith clambered over. A third successful kick from three for Leeming left Bedford looking very comfortable at 17-0.
A third try was disallowed by the referee for a very marginal forward pass, but the Blues continued to dominate in every department; Doncaster dropping the ball whenever they got anywhere near the Bedford 22.
The 17-0 scoreline at the interval was generous on the visitors, as Bedford’s superiority warranted a bigger lead, but the Blues would have been happy with one of their better first halves of the season.
The second half began in a similar vein; immense power shown by Alafoti Fa’osiliva and then prop Alex Penny, both merely bouncing off tackles deep in opposition territory, leaving Ryan Hutler to stroll over for his 10th try of the season.
An appreciative crowd of 2,324 at Goldington Road were enjoying seeing the Blues of old after a difficult season as Bedford began to show the skill and expertise that has seen them perform so well in this division for a number of years.
A fourth try soon followed as the Knights began to wilt under the strength of the Bedford pack; Grayson Hart taking a quick penalty to dive in near the posts.
With nearly an hour on the clock, Doncaster secured their first points of the afternoon; Charlie Foley touching down in the corner following a quickly taken penalty but it did little to perturb the Blues fans who continued to urge their side forwards.
The game arguably petered out towards the end, but the Blues enjoyed one of their more commanding performances of the season in a 29-5 victory, seeing them jump their opponents into 8th in the league table.
“Men vs Boys” is an often overused cliché in the world of sport, but while the scoreline may suggest a closer game, the strength and power of the Blues was a huge difference today in what turned out to be a very comfortable afternoon’s work for Mike Rayer’s men.