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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Lose to well drilled Huntingdon team.

Windy conditions at the Ath and after a good warm up with the team looking sharp, Bedford opted to play with the breeze in the first 1/2 and all 15 men looked ready to do battle with a strong Huntingdon team.

It was a strong start from Huntingdon with pressure from their kick off, forcing a penalty turnover which was kicked deep into touch and Bedford were facing a lineout on the 22 within the opening minutes.
Good pressure on the maul and ensuing Ruck by the Bedford pack saw Bedford tun the ball over and start to apply pressure of their own, with a powerful run by Ben Radnor ultimately ending in a knock on by the blues and a Huntingdon scrum on 5 minutes.

Bedford fail to capitalise on consecutive penalties by Huntingdon, and lose the ball in a Maul allowing Huntingdon to drive down the pitch and win a penalty in front of the posts. Penalty kick taken successfully. 0-3 after 7 minutes.

A 5 minute scrappy period of forwards “to and fro” eventually saw Bedford win a penalty and a great kick by Sam Valpy leads to a 5m Bedford Lime-out, powerful forward play takes us over the try line but adjudged to be “held up” and a 5m scrum awarded. Bedford broke clear off the back of the scrum but were isolated and caught holding on in the tackle (an all too regular occurrence) offering up a penalty against which was cleared to touch relieving the pressure.

The first Huntingdon try came on 21 minutes, when some good counter rucking by Huntingdon leads to a penalty against Bedford, which was kicked to touch near the 5m line. A well drilled catch and drive, followed by a slick offload and a line breaking run gives the first try to Huntingdon. The conversion is missed.
0 – 8 after 21 mins.

Bedford finally break their duck with a sustained period of pressure at the end of the first half.
From a scrum in the Huntingdon half, there are good driving runs into the heart of the Huntingdon defence by Cian and Noah leading to a penalty and a kick to touch. Strong running by Lucas Nisbett-Hadaway and Sam Edwards off the line-out gets Noah Kilkenny to the tryline in the corner but he was considered to be held up. The resulting 5m scrum sees a quick thinking and well executed cross field grubber kick by Cian chased and touched down just before the dead ball line by Maxi. The referee didn’t want to give it, but the linesman rightly informed him that it was definitely a try. Conversion is missed and the half time whistle is blown. 5-8 at half time.

The second half starts well for Bedford and they enjoy some good territorial kicking, and consecutive penalties awarded against Huntingdon sees them deep in the Huntingdon half, but the lack of a deep attacking line by Bedford, some indecision, and good line speed from Huntingdon allow Huntingdon to intercept a Bedford pass and run in for a 70 metre try under the posts. Conversion is successful and against the run of play Huntingdon lead 5-15 after 35 minutes.

The next 10 minutes saw Bedford with the majority of the possession and getting into some good positions on the pitch, but isolation of runners and a lack of control at the breakdown were a common theme and the ball is given up too easily and frequently for Bedford to have any sustained pressure.

On 40 minutes Bedford failed to capitalise on a good line-out position and they knock on, leading to a Huntingdon scrum. This is turned over and Ben Radnor makes a good run to ease the pressure but again the support is slow and a turnover penalty is awarded for holding on following the Huntingdon tackle. 2 good scrums by Huntingdon and strong mauling gets them to the try line but held up by a very strong Bedford defence. 5 further minutes of intense Huntingdon pressure is absorbed by the defence and Bedford get a rare penalty enabling them to clear the lines.

The next phase saw a Bedford Scrum on half way and some powerful running by Dan Chandler leads to a penalty which is kicked to touch on the 22.
Good driving maul by the pack takes us to 5m and a penalty for collapsing the maul is kicked to touch and Bedford take the lineout on 5m. Another strong maul takes Bedford over for a try with Jacob Wells touching down on 50 minutes. Strengthening winds didn’t help the kicker and the conversion was missed 10-15 after 50 mins.

Good chase on the restart by Huntingdon turns the ball over and a penalty scrum is taken by Huntingdon who make good yards off the back of the scrum. Until a knock on gives Bedford a scrum close to their own try line. Good pressure by Bedford and a quick line gives them a penalty and they take another scrum.

The decision to take the ball down the risky and congested blind side didn’t work well, and the ball was knocked on in the face of some strong tackles by Huntingdon giving the opposition a scrum on Bedford 5m line. An early push by Huntingdon gave Bedford a free kick which was run sideways across the pitch without any real forward momentum.

Bedford were now chasing the points needed to win the match, and applied pressure through the forwards which drew a number of penalties from Huntingdon, but strong defence by Huntingdon didn’t allow Bedford to gain many yards.

The final Bedford penalty was taken quickly and run well by Dan Chandler and Lucas Nisbett-Hadaway, who both made some yards but another turnover gave Huntingdon the ball which is kicked to touch and the final whistle ends the game.

A difficult game against a well organised and powerful Huntingdon team, that could have been so much more for Bedford, if better decisions had been made at key times, and fewer turnovers had been given, but which ultimately ended in a 10-15 loss for the Blues.

By Rich Allan