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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Bedford scrape to win at Moseley

Nick Walshe’s first Blues try helped Bedford earn a hard-fought 22-15 win over struggling Moseley in a poor match at Billesley Common on Tuesday evening.

Walshe’s try came five minutes before half-time much to the relief of Bedford, who had been struggling to break down the stubborn home defence.

Captain James Pritchard had earlier given the Blues the lead with a series of penalties, maintaining his superb form with the boot, wading in with seventeen points in total.

Moseley, who sit 10th in the Championship, gave Bedford a real test but in the end ran out of time as the game ended seven minutes early due to floodlight failure, handing the Blues their eighth straight win.

It must have been a relief to both teams when the game eventually went ahead after it was postponed twice in the past 10 days due to poor weather.

Having earned a hard-fought win over Ulster just three days earlier, Mike Rayer made ten changes to his Bedford side with Walshe starting at scrumhalf and Paul Tupai at number eight.

On a wet evening in Birmingham, both sides made a scrappy start as the slippery conditions were causing plenty of early errors.

But Bedford soon got into their stride and should have opened their account seven minutes in only for Ollie Dodge to be denied by a last ditch tackle.

However Bedford kept the pressure up on the Birmingham side and soon took the lead through a James Pritchard penalty from straight in front of the posts following an infringement in the scrum.

Moseley hit back straight from the restart, though, with a penalty from fullback Oliver Thomas. Pritchard should have restored the Blues lead just a minutes later but unusually missed a fairly easy penalty attempt.

And the visitors were made to pay for that miss with another Thomas penalty shortly after to give the hosts a 6-3 lead.

Bedford had plenty of the ball but continued to make errors and missed a glorious chance to score the first try when Brendan Burke failed to collect the ball cleanly just a meter out.

It was an unusually jaded looking Bedford; they appeared weary during the middle of a hectic schedule.

Again they should have gone over but Pritchard’s clever kick over the try line was deemed to have been grounded by a Moseley player rather than the onrushing Dodge.

The Blues did manage to level up the scores minutes later, though; as their dominance was rewarded with a penalty that Pritchard converted.

It was all Bedford in the first-half with Moseley rarely getting over the halfway line and only several silly errors stopped the Blues from taking advantage.

What was not helping either side was the constant malfunctioning of the floodlights on one side of the pitch that kept going on and off throughout the match.

The Blues were getting more and more frustrated but eventually they did manage to find their way across the whitewash for the first try.

After winning a penalty 10 meters out, Bedford elected to take a scrum and their forward power was too much for Moseley with Walshe the one going over from close range.

Pritchard converted the try to give Bedford a 13-6 advantage at the break.

But, despite the score-line, Rayer would hardly have been happy during the interval after a poor first-half display from his usually solid side.

Straight from the restart, Bedford got back into their groove and Prichard added another three points to his tally as Moseley were caught offside.

The start of the second-half was a repeat of the first with Bedford utterly dominant but struggling to find a way through an obdurate Moseley defence.

Pritchard slotted a fourth penalty to increase the lead to 19-6 before Thomas hit back immediately with a penalty of his own.

All of a sudden Moseley seemed to have new life breathed into them as they ventured forward deep inside Bedford’s half before Thomas had the chance to reduce the gap to 19-12 with a fourth penalty.

And they continued to cause problems to the Blues defence in a period of sustained pressure were Thomas kicked another penalty to close the gap to just four points.

That gap didn’t last long, however as the formidable Pritchard scored a further penalty and Bedford started to take control of the game once again.

It looked as though we were in for a frantic last few minutes until the floodlights failed completely and, as it only takes an hour of the match to be played before it’s legal, the referee called time leaving Bedford with a gritty 22-15 win.

Moseley: Craig Voisey (Nathan Williams 58), George Warner, Terry Sigley (Shaun Knight 58), David Lyons, Richard Stott (c) (Paul Spivey 65), Neil Mason, Michael Maltman (Ben Pons 65), Chevvy Pennycook, Ryan De La Harpe, Bradley Davies, Edward Styles, Andrew Borgen, Bevon Armitage, Michael Gillick, Oliver Thomas.
Replacements not used: Samuel Lewis, Callum Macburnie, Andrew Reay.

Blues: Sam Walsh, Dan Richmond (Joe Clark 64), Dan Seal, Mike Howard, Alex Rae (Sean Tomes 64), Gregor Gillanders, Sacha Harding, Paul Tupai, Nick Walshe (Will Chudley 72), Myles Dorrian, Duncan Taylor, Ian Vaas, Brendan Burke (Tom Bedford 46), Ollie Dodge, James Pritchard (c).
Replacements not used: Phil Boulton, Robin Boot, Handre Schmidt.

Referee: Rowan Kitt

Touch Judges: Ross Campbell and James Minards

Star Blue: Nick Walshe – Scored his first try for the club and thoroughly deserves it

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