Rugby returns with Blues loss at Coventry while Ath pull off last-minute win

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Image Credit: KeyEyes Photo

After one of the hottest and driest summers on record, the cooler weather brought with it a return to rugby union, with Bedford Blues hoping to challenge the higher echelons of the Championship once again.

Their campaign began on Friday night against old rivals, Coventry – the game given the “respectful go ahead” by the RFU after the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

Mike Rayer’s 18th season as Director of Rugby at the Blues has once again brought mammoth change, with a new look Blues side making the short trip to the Midlands.

Read: Bedford Blues kick off new Championship season under the lights at Coventry

The season could not have started in a better fashion for Bedford; just 30 seconds after the opening whistle, Dean Adamson found himself cruising over the try line for his 103rd try in Blues colours.

Dean Adamson continued his fine form from last season (Image: KeyEyes Photo)

While Bedford added to their tally with a penalty, Coventry utilised the maul to great effect to score two tries; helped in large by Bedford indiscipline that saw both Alex Woolford and Jacob Fields sent to the sin-bin.

Jordan Poole’s double for the hosts alongside a try for Suva Ma’asi ultimately condemned the Blues to an opening 26-18 defeat, with their winless run at Butts Park Arena extending.

“We need to sort it out”

Bedford’s talismanic winger, Dean Adamson was highly critical of his side’s display, lamenting his team’s indiscipline at key moments.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board on Monday. That’s the beauty of the start of the new season, we’ve got time to put things right, we’ll regroup and go again against London Scottish next week.

“That wasn’t the way Bedford should play and we need to sort it out.”

It was positive news in the lower leagues however, as Bedford Ath scored in the final moments to break Harpenden hearts as they won their first game in the Regional One South East fixture, 24-23.

Following an opening day 38-17 loss to a strong Tring side, the win was a key moment so early on in the season for the Ath who jump above Harpenden in the league standings.

An opening try for Harry Sawford-Smith was drowned out by Alex Osborn and Matt Shaw responding for the visitors to give Harpenden a 15-10 half-time lead.

Image from last season’s game vs West Bridgeford

An early penalty for Harpenden extended that lead to eight points, but Josh Walker’s pace paid dividends as he scored for Bedford Ath to reduce the deficit to one.

Another Harpenden try kept the hosts at arms length, but with Oli Johnson missing the conversion, the door was left open for a late Bedford burst.

It was to be Steve Smith who scored the winning try, and with Leo Mortimer nailing the conversion, the Ath stole a 24-23 victory.

“I’ve been hoping for a pressure kick like that”, commented Mortimer on the winning conversion and the result sees Bedford Athletic up and running for the season ahead as they travel to Colchester this Saturday.

Bedford Blues meanwhile are hoping to kick start their campaign as they host London Scottish at Goldington Road on Saturday afternoon.

Tickets for the opening home game of the league season can be bought here.