Disappointing Blues lose Championship Cup opener at London Scottish

Image: London Scottish Rugby

The Richmond Athletic Ground is becoming a bit of a hoodoo ground for Bedford Blues after they were beaten again at the venue, this time by London Scottish in the opening round of the Championship Cup.

On paper, the fixture against the Championship’s bottom club looked to be one of the simpler ones in a pool also consisting of Doncaster Knights and Coventry but Scottish pulled it out the bag in the face of a poor Blues showing.

Louis Grimoldby, getting a rare start in the number ten jersey, opened the scoring for Bedford Blues with a penalty on the ten-minute mark, but that’s as good as it good for the visitors in the opening half.

Ten minutes later, Scottish would gain a lead they would never surrender with Jack Ingall smashing through the Blues defence and by the half hour mark, they’d opened up an 11-point gap.

A swift Scottish move found its way out to the wing where Noah Ferdinand crashed through one tackle and dived into the corner with the Friday night crowd sensing an upset in the process.

That lead was increased just before half-time as scrum half Dan Nutton also dived over, and with Harry Sheppard adding the extras on each occasion, London Scottish led 21-3 at the break.

Image: Dan Nutton scored London Scottish’s third try (Image: London Scottish Rugby)

Second half comeback falls short

Thoughts of Richmond’s comeback in the second period at the same venue just six days ago would have been hot in the memory of Mike Rayer and his men but a brief foray into comeback territory petered out.

The Blues were required to carry out steadfast defence in the opening clashes of the second half when they needed to start fast, but the scoreboard remained the same until the 65th minute.

The ball was ripped from the breakdown and found Jake Garside who tore away down the wing to reduce the Scottish lead to 21-10.

Thoughts of reducing the gap further though were scuppered by a late try from Sam Riley for the hosts and 16 points with five minutes remaining was too much of a difference to fight back from.

A late try for Pat Tapley gave Bedford a sniff of a losing bonus point but it wasn’t to be, capping a disappointing performance with a 26-17 loss.

“We didn’t play the conditions well”

Bedford’s man-of-the-match, voted for by the Bedford Rugby Followers Association, Tui Uru admitted, “we didn’t play the conditions well and we didn’t play the smartest rugby with a wet ball”.

Asked what lessons Bedford Blues can take from the past fortnight, the very short answer was, “Discipline, 100%. We’re letting teams back in on our own mistakes”

The loss opens up Pool Two of the Championship Cup, with tough challenges to come against Doncaster Knights and Coventry, who Bedford Blues host at Goldington Road next Friday night.

The Knights host Coventry today while Ampthill travel to Caldy and Richmond host Cornish Pirates in Pool Three.

The tough pool based on form however is Pool One, that opens in its entirety tomorrow with Nottingham hosting Jersey Reds and Hartpury travelling to reigning champions, Ealing Trailfinders.