Bedford Blues were looking to respond from last week’s tough outing at Saracens as they hosted Championship new boys, Richmond at Goldington Road this afternoon.
This was a fixture that dates back almost 90 years, with both sides sharing 35 wins apiece in this historic game, but Mike Rayer’s side nudged ahead in that regard with a clinical performance in the spring sunshine.
Reece Marshall made his debut at hooker, after joining on a short-term loan from Northampton Saints; one of seven changes for the Blues.
The changes paid off, as three tries within the first quarter of the game gave Bedford ultimate control of an intriguing contest.
Pat Tapley opened the scoring after ten minutes, as he collected a wonderful offload by eventual man-of-the-match, Tom Litchfield to touch down.
Five minutes later, the lead was doubled, Blues stalwart Rich Lane speeding in from 40 metres out to give Bedford a cushion, before Oli Robinson bundled home a third shortly after.
A familiar yellow card greeted Oli Curry shortly before the half-time whistle, granting an opening to Richmond who scored their only try of the game through Myles Scott to reduce the deficit to nine points at the break.
That was as good as it got for the visitors though, as Josh Gillespie gained the Blues’ bonus point, before Jacob Fields completed a tidy line-out move shortly after to all but confirm the game for the hosts.
Then followed a period of stoic defence for Bedford as Richmond tried to battle their way back; the discipline and character shown a huge positive for Alex Rae and his coaching team.
Jacob Fields added his second try of the afternoon as Richmond run out of legs to secure a handsome 38-10 victory at the full-time whistle, propelling the Blues up to 6th in the Championship table.
Elsewhere, Ealing continued to set the pace with another try fest against Jersey Reds, as Cornish Pirates kept up the pace in the chasing pack with a 33-22 victory at bottom club, Nottingham.