Belligerent Blues go down to Fighting Falcons

Image: Bedford Blues

On another wet afternoon, the Blues welcomed top of the table Newcastle Falcons to Goldington Road in a repeat of the 2013 Championship Final.

In a fairly tidy opening for both sides, the Falcons were the first to smell the try line, with winger Adam Radwan inches away from touching the ball down after a speculative kick forward.

The first points came with nearly a quarter of the game gone; Bedford deservedly taking the lead with a simple penalty for American international, Will Hooley.

Any hint of a Newcastle response was scarce with the Bedford defence holding firm whenever the Falcons made it into the opposition 22, conceding penalties whenever they did get into any good territory.

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That ill-discipline would pay as the first yellow card was dished out to Falcons prop Rodney Ah You, and with a promising switch in play from the resulting line out, Bedford could not capitalise after a misplaced pass from Lewis Robling.

With the first half coming to a close, Bedford piled on the pressure and would have been disappointed to only go into the interval with a 3-0 lead although not without a squaring up from the two sets of players before they reached the changing rooms.

With the rain lashing down, the Falcons came out fighting and on the front foot, very quickly setting up camp in the Bedford 22, resulting in what turned out to be the only try of the game for John Hardie to give Newcastle the lead for the first time, but with Flood missing the conversion, that lead remained slim.

However, the Falcons continued to press with former England international, Toby Flood converting a simple penalty to extend the lead to 8-3 in Newcastle’s favour.

Newcastle continued to have the upper hand as Bedford’s previously solid defence began to wilt with the heat of the Falcons’ pressure.

Image: Bedford Blues

The weather wasn’t helping proceedings, with both teams making handling errors in the wet conditions.

A second penalty for Flood gave the Falcons an important 11-3 lead with ten minutes remaining but Bedford responded immediately with a penalty of their own to reduce the deficit back to five points.

11-6 to Newcastle was how it remained, with the Falcons showing Premiership-like experience to keep possession and restrict Bedford to kicking long and ambitious passes in the closing stages.

Bedford will be heartened by a courageous performance but Newcastle’s experience was the difference as their fifth win in five games left Bedford Blues languishing towards to the bottom of the Championship table.

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