Goldington Road reset begins as six players depart Bedford Blues

Montage of six players leaving Bedford Blues at the end of the 2023/24 season
Image: Bedford Blues RFC

Bedford Blues have announced the departure of six players from Goldington Road this evening (Monday) as preparations begin for the 2024/25 season.

One of the names on the list were known, with Jordan Onojaife announcing his retirement at the turn of the year and Jacob Fields will also join him by hanging up his boots after Saturday’s final Championship encounter at Ealing.

Onojaife is in line to face Ealing on Saturday for his final Bedford Blues game, which will also be his 100th.

The four other players on the list are Robin Williams, who won the Coaches Player of the Year award last season, back row Kieran Curran, centre Jordan Venter and former Ampthill fly half, Louis Grimoldby.

For Grimoldby, his parting act from Goldington Road will be the last gasp drop goal that secured a 32-29 victory against Doncaster Knights at the beginning of May, helping the Blues secure fourth place in this season’s Championship.

Read: Dramatic finale at Goldington Road as Bedford Blues steal key win against Knights

Between them, the sextet have turned out for Bedford Blues on 388 occasions and they all may make an appearance at the Trailfinders Sports Ground on Saturday afternoon for the season finale.

“It’s a sad day”

Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer has of course been through this process many times for Bedford Blues, but reflected on it being a sad day when players leave the club for pastures new.

“It’s always a sad time of the year when players leave the club.

“These boys have given everything for us throughout their time here and we’ll look to give them all a good send off this Saturday. We wish them all the best and hopefully our paths cross again in the future.”

Bedford Blues' Louis Grimoldby in their charity pink kit
Louis Grimoldby in the Blues’ charity pink kit Image: Claire Jones

There may still be one game to go, but with Bedford Blues having already secured fourth with a tight victory against an improved London Scottish side last Saturday, and Ealing confirmed as champions, Saturday’s league finale is essentially a dead rubber.

Neither side will be playing it as such, but some thoughts are now understandably in the 2024/25 camp with the Blues already announcing a new forwards coach in Tom Cruse, who retired from Northampton Saints playing duty this season.

For the six players leaving Goldington Road, two are hanging up their boots completely while the other four will be looking for new employers, and there are no doubt plans afoot to bring in new personnel to bolster the Blues squad heading into the new season.

For now, attention turns to the Champions, where Bedford Blues will look to avenge their 41-21 defeat to Ealing on the opening day of the Championship season back in October.