Edd Thrower’s superb hat-trick led Bedford to an emphatic 37-10 win over Rotherham Titans at Goldington Road on Saturday, writes James Heneghan.
The Blues dominated much of the game and, despite a number of errors, thoroughly deserved their bonus point victory.
Ollie Dodge opened the scoring before Dan Richmond and Thrower went over to give Bedford a comfortable lead at the break.
Rotherham hit back after the interval but three late tries gave the hosts the points.
It was a performance reminiscent of Bedford’s season so far as they produced flashes of brilliance but made countless errors at crucial times.
The result makes it four wins on the trot for Mike Rayer’s side and keeps them second in the Championship with more than half the season gone.
There were several changes from the team that defeated Birmingham & Solihull last week.
Paul Tupai made his first start since returning from suspension while Dodge, Myles Dorrian, Sam Walsh, Richmond and Gregor Gillanders all came back in.
Bedford didn’t take long to get into their groove as they opened the scoring inside four minutes.
In a frantic start, a series of comical mistakes from both sides put the Blues just metres out and, after working the ball wide with some skilful handling, Dodge skipped past several players to score in the corner.
Dorrian missed the kick but it couldn’t stop Bedford adding to their total with a second try three minutes later.
Again it was down to some bizarre play from Rotherham, who, instead of allowing the ball to go out of play, tried to keep it alive but inadvertently knocked the ball behind for a five-metre scrum to Bedford.
Straight from the scrum, Richmond received the ball inches out and bundled his way through for a try, but Dorrian somehow missed the conversion from in front of the posts.
Juan Pablo Socino narrowed the gap with a penalty but nothing was going to stop rampant Bedford.
With 17 minutes gone, the Blues scored a magnificent third try.
Socino attempted an ambitious drop-goal from inside his own half but it fell to Thrower on the try line and he tore down the wing towards the Titans’ line.
As he approached the opposing half he fed Will Chudley, who then supplied Sacha Harding, who played it back to Thrower.
His pace was no match for the Titans defence and he strolled over for a try that he will remember for a long time.
It was a breathtaking start from the home side as they had hardly given the crowd a chance to draw breath.
At that point it looked as though Bedford would run away from the Yorkshire side, but the Titans started to play their way back into the game.
There were also an incredible number of mistakes being made with the greasy surface causing several players to slip at vital moments.
Bedford maintained their 15-3 lead until the break, despite having Brendan Burke sin-binned for persistent offending.
The Blues began the second half as they did the first and Dorrian finally got his first points of the day with a penalty.
Bedford seemed to be heading for an easy win but out of the blue Rotherham hit back with a brilliant try of their own.
Full-back Peter Watkins collected the ball 70 metres out and went on a superb mazy run, passing the whole Blues’ defence before off-loading to Jonny Hepworth, who touched down under the posts.
But it only spurred Bedford on to score three more tries, with the pace of the game relentless.
The hosts piled on the pressure in search of a fourth try and bided their time before working the ball wide to Thrower, who barged his way over.
Duncan Taylor then took advantage of Rotherham going a man down when Hepworth was sin-binned.
Dorrian’s precise pass gave Bedford a three-on-one out on the left and it was left to Taylor to score.
In the dying seconds Thrower got his hat-trick when he received the ball in acres of space and went over to complete a resounding win for Bedford.
Blues: Sam Walsh, Dan Richmond (c) (Chris Locke 77), Phil Boulton (Dan Seal 50), Paul Tupai (Mike Howard 62), Alex Rae (Sean Tomes 80), Gregor Gillanders, Sacha Harding, Chris Goodman, Will Chudley (Darryl Veenendaal 65), Myles Dorrian (Nick Walshe 77), Duncan Taylor, Ian Vaas (Tom Bedford 50), Brendan Burke, Ollie Dodge, Edd Thrower.
Titans: Colin Quigley, David McGregor (Alex Loney 29), Anton O’Donnell (Nico Steenkamp 43), Ben Harris (James Sandford 76), Sam Dickinson, Ryan Burrows, Sean Douglas, Adam Kettle (Daniel Baines 65), Joe Bedford (c), Clifford Hodgson (Byron Godfrey 71), Simeon James, Juan Pablo Socino, Jonny Hepworth, Matt Rhodes (Tyle Stimpson 80), Peter Swatkins (Brad Hunt 51).
Referee: Chris White.
Touch Judges: Simon Harding and Darryl Chapman.
Star Blue: Edd Thrower – scored a breathtaking try as part of a wonderful hat-trick.