Bedford Blues were back to winning ways on Friday evening as they edged past London Scottish in an entertaining Goldington Road affair under the Friday night lights.
An attendance of 3,307 were present to see a much changed Bedford Blues side, having made seven changes to their starting line up in an attempt to kick start their 2024 and rebound from back-to-back defeats.
After a scrappy and error-laden opening five minutes, it was the visitors who got on the board first with a simple penalty converted by Alec Lloyd-Seed but Bedford hit back immediately.
Dean Adamson, on his first foray with ball in hand, played a beautiful offload in field to Joey Conway who then fed ‘Magic’ Matt Worley on the left wing to sprint home into the corner to give the Blues a 5-3 lead.
That lead should have been extended as Adamson was tackled hunting the try line for himself with teammates outside of him, but instead it was Scottish who would score as Hayden Hyde intercepted a pass and sprinted the length of the pitch to dot down under the posts.
Scottish squandered what was an excellent opportunity to draw further away from the home side but a knock on scuppered their chance and with Bedford quickly making their way up the other end, Dan Nutton was sin-binned for illegally stopping a promising Blues charge.
Opting for the scrum, captain Alex Day found Michael Le Bourgeois who powered his way over the try line and with Louis Grimoldby nailing the conversion, Bedford led once more.
Level pegging at half time
It wasn’t a first half of their fluent best by any means, but when Bedford wheels began to motor, they did so at great speed and when Seán French found himself in space on the right wing, he sprinted clear to dive over for his 11th try of the Championship campaign.
Hayden Hyde was once again the name on the scoresheet however as Scottish went into the break at 17-17 as the centre bundled over for his second of the evening with the final play of the first half.
Only a couple of minutes had been played in the second when the Blues found themselves back ahead as French picked up a loose ball on the right wing.
Time seemed to stand still as the Irishman picked up and dashed down the near side and a couple of phases later, the ball had been spread to the opposite wing where Dean Adamson was lingering to finish off a swift move.
Despite that, there was a Scottish player who had set about making a nuisance of himself and when Hayden Hyde intercepted another pass in his own 22, it looked as if history was repeating itself only for the centre be brought down just short of the try line.
A Connor Slevin penalty reduced the lead to just two points approaching the hour mark, before both sides exchanged tries in quick succession thanks to Bedford’s Joe Howard and the Exiles’ Will Brown, leaving Bedford Blues 29-25 ahead.
A Grimoldby penalty in the closing stages sealed the deal with Bedford Blues securing a 32-25 victory, much to the relief of the bumper Goldington Road crowd.
A win is a win
While Mike Rayer’s men showed flashes of their fluent attacking best, they were met with a stubborn Scottish side who have improved in recent years. Hyde and Nutton in particular caused the Blues defence some issues, although credit must be given to another superb defensive display from the Blues’ pack.
The side from the capital still only have one league win this season – against Ealing of all teams – but when Bedford were presented with opportunities, they finished them with aplomb to edge past the Exiles and secure maximum points in the process.
It is a welcome victory for the Blues, who are now just one point off the top of the league, although Ealing have two games in hand over both Bedford and league leaders Coventry.
This will be a morale boosting victory with a tough month of rugby ahead of them, beginning with Cornish Pirates who visit Goldington Road next Saturday before visiting Merseyside for the re-arranged fixture against Caldy.