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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Clinical Bedford thrash poor Esher

Bedford Blues delivered one of their best performances of the season to extend their winning run to five games after a 53-15 win over lowly Esher at Molesey Road on Saturday.

The Blues dominated throughout as a Handre Schmidt hat trick and Duncan Taylor brace made up five of their eight tries against an Esher side who have now failed to win in any of their last seven games.

Chris Goodman, Will Fraser and Brendan Burke all scored in the second-half to give Bedford the bonus point win and keep in touch with leaders Worcester.

As for Esher, they lie 11th in the Championship as they rarely posed any kind of a threat during a one-sided affair, although they did manage to score twice.

So often this season Bedford have had to rely on their defence to see them to victory but in truth they had few chances to defend as it was some relentless attacking that was the key to this win.

Director of Rugby Mike Rayer rung the changes for the trip, with only five players staying in the same position from last week’s win over Rotherham.

Darryl Veenendaal and Tom Bedford both came back in while Laurence Ovens, Chris Locke, Dan Seal, Sean Tomes and Fraser all returned to the backs.

It took Bedford only minutes to assert their authority as they surged forward in search of an early score.

Wingers Taylor has been outstanding all year and it was clear from the start that he would again be a significant factor to how the visitors’ afternoon panned out.

And it was he who got Bedford going with the first try of the day inside four minutes.

Schmidt, who has been fighting for a regular starting place this season, began brightly and was the instigator to Bedford’s opening try.

His burst through a gaping hole in Esher’s defence gave Blues territory before they recycled the ball out wide to Taylor, who strolled over.

Myles Dorrian scuffed the conversion but he got the chance to have another go just two minutes later when Taylor scored his second.

The influential Schmidt was again the creator as his mazy run set the Blues up and their quick, precise passing was too good for Esher as Taylor was in space out wide to run through.

Dorrian made no mistake the second time around with a well struck conversion and at that point it appeared Bedford could run rampant.

But the Londoners started to enjoy some possession and seemed to have settled down despite a Dorrian penalty that extended the lead.

Sam Ulph got Esher’s first points on the board with a penalty as the hosts started to get on top.

And their ambition was rewarded two minutes from the break when Karl Rudzki took advantage of a well organised catch and drive from a line-out.

Ulph converted the try to bring his side to within five points but it didn’t last long as Goodman scored a crucial try on the brink of half-time.

Just as Esher looked to be gaining some momentum, Dorrian found a gap in the hosts defence and played in Goodman, who scored under the posts to give  Bedford a 22-10 half-time lead.

Goodman’s try evidently boosted Bedford as they bombarded Esher with a spell of superb free flowing attacking rugby after the break and their ability to run with ball in hand from deep was a joy to watch.

Schmidt was first to score as he jinxed his way past several defenders, scoring in the corner and collecting the bonus point.

Three minutes later, the Blues got their fifth try with some more slick passing, this time Taylor supplying Fraser to go over.

Bedford were playing with a certain vigor and freedom, something which they have rarely showcased this season as most of their success has been a result of determined defence.

They produced wave after wave of attack as the hosts continued to open up, allowing Bedford to score at will.

Schmidt grabbed his second after another quick burst before sealing his first Blues hat trick with a try in the corner.

Esher did hit back when Seal was sin binned with Shaun Renwick going over after a strong driving scrum.

But Bedford wrapped up an impressive win in the last minute with an eighth try, scored by Brendan Burke as Sean Tomes played him in after a powerful run.

There was one unsavory incident during the second-half when an Esher player seemed to target Burke and charge into him, leaving him flat out on the floor.

It didn’t take the shine of Bedford’s hugely impressive win, though, as they produced a superb display of attacking rugby.

Esher: Samuel Ulph (Alexander Walker 56), Samuel Smith, Geoffrey Griffiths, Arran Chuickshanks, Gerard Mullen (Jonathon Goodridge 56), Michael Whitehead, Andrew Gardner, David Millard, Kevin Corrigan, Timothy Tunnicliff (Michael Blakeburn 48), Karl Rudzki, Paul Barker (Jamie Gibbs 48), Luke Wallace (Christopher Rowland 61), Sam Stitcher (David Slemen 56), Christopher Wallace. Replacements not used: Shawn Renwick

Blues: Laurence Ovens (Phil Boulton 55), Chris Locke (Dan Richmond 47), Dan Seal, Paul Tupai, Sean Tomes, Gregor Gillanders, Will Fraser, Chris Goodman (c) (Mike Howard 47), Darryl Veenendaal (Will Chudley 65), Myles Dorrian (Jake Sharp 60), Duncan Taylor, Tom Bedford, Ollie Dodge (Ian Vaas 40), Handre Schmidt, Brendan Burke. Replacement not used: Alex Rae

Referee: Darren Gamage

Touch Judges: Terry Hall and Paul Dickens

Star Blue: Handre Schmidt – produced countless runs, setting up numerous attacking opportunities for Bedford.

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