Five Bedford Blues players leave Goldington Road but Adamson re-signs

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Image: Bedford Blues

Bedford Blues have confirmed the departure of five players as they begin preparations for the 2022/23 season after finishing fifth in the Greene King Championship.

Forwards Josh Pieterse, Will Biggs, Oli Stedman and Bailey Ransom – all of whom joined Bedford Blues last summer – join winger Andre Robson in departing Goldington Road as Mike Rayer begins shaping his squad for the new campaign.

They join captain Rich Lane, who has made his loan move to Premiership side Bristol Bears permanent and vice-captain Joe Atkinson, who announced his retirement shortly before the end of the season.

New signings impact interrupted by injury

Will Biggs and Josh Pieterse were early season casualties, with their time at Goldington Road restricted to just five and ten appearances respectively, with Biggs’ time especially limited after a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season.

Bailey Ransom and Oli Stedman were regulars throughout the season, making a combined forty appearances between them with Stedman particularly impressing on his way to nine tries.

Andre Robson was also impressive in his first foray into senior rugby, but all five now move on to pastures new.

Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer, said: “It’s always a sad time of the year when players leave the club. These boys have given everything for the club this season and we send them all our best wishes. Hopefully our paths cross again in the future.”

New captain required

As well as rebuilding a squad, Mike Rayer also has the task of appointing a new captain with Rich Lane and stand-in Joe Atkinson both also leaving.

Bedford born Lane leaves for a lucrative opportunity in the Gallagher Premiership with Bristol Bears, who he spent the climax of last season on loan.

Rich Lane

During his five seasons at Goldington Road, the former Junior Blue made 97 appearances, scoring 31 tries along the way.

The departing Lane said: “I’ve absolutely loved my time at Bedford, this is the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in rugby in leaving Goldington Road.

“I had almost closed that chapter of moving back to the Premiership, but the opportunity came up at Bristol and I don’t want to have any regrets.”

Joe Atkinson is also departing, announcing his retirement in April after over 150 appearances in second-tier rugby.

The openside flanker has been highly complimentary of Bedford’s free-flowing style and Mike Rayer’s commitment and management style.

“I have absolutely loved my three seasons at the club. The culture that Mike has nurtured over the years has made the training and playing environment unrivalled in the Championship.

“The thing I’m going to miss the most is that when you go to ‘work’, you’re playing the game you love with a bunch of your mates.

“On the pitch, there has never been a dull moment and I’ve really enjoyed playing the high tempo and expansive Bedford style of play.”

There is however some good news for Bedford Blues fans as prolific winger Dean Adamson has re-signed for the new season, hoping to add to his 102 for Bedford Blues.

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