Following heavy rain in the morning, conditions at Goldington
road were always going to be tricky, and it was Jersey playing down
the slope who quickly got to grips with things.
With only 3 minutes on the clock, Bell collected a Bedford
clearance kick and returned well before off-loading in the tackle
to Locke who made no mistake to touch down for the first score of
the afternoon that went uncoverted.
Bedford hit back with a penalty kick by Pritchard, before Bell
extended the Reds lead with a superb strike from his own half to
leave the visitors with a narrow 3-8 lead.
Jersey maintained dominance throughout most of the first period,
particuarly in the lineout where they stole a lot of possession.
The now trade-mark 'catch and drive' routine was used to good
effect to keep the hosts on the back foot, but despite creating
numerous chances the Reds couldn't capitalise on any of them as
final passes went astray, and 3-8 was how it stayed.
Bedford were a different side after the restart, and scored
almost straight away. Griffiths, who had looked threatening
throughout the first half had a clearance kick charged down. The
ball popped up on the Bedford side and they worked it through the
hands to fullback, Pritchard who crossed in the corner to level the
In a topsy-turvy half that saw the lead change hands 5 times, it
was Bedford who were to score next through a Pritchard penalty. The
lead only last 2 minutes though before Griffiths got a try for
Jersey as he broke from the back of a driving maul. Bell converted
and the score stood at 11-15.
Next on the scoresheet were the Blues following good work by
wing, Wigglesworth who carved his way through the Jersey defence
before releasing opposite winger Tapley to score under the posts
for a converted try; 18-15.
Jersey wrestled the lead back when Martin Garcia-Vega emerged
from the bottom of a pile of bodies after a successful catch and
drive, but Bell was unable to add the extras and as the clock
ticked down Jersey held a narrow 18-20 advantage.
With both sides looking nervy, Jersey killed the ball in defence
and McCrea was shown yellow. Moments later Bedford capitilised on
the man-advantage to score what turned out to be the winning points
with a converted try by Sharp.
Jersey did have an opportunity in injury time to win the game
with a BP try and maximum points as Bell carefully stroked a
penalty deep into the Bedford 22. Replacement hooker Harris was
unable to hit his man from the subsequent lineout as there was a
lifting error; Bedford cleared and then held on for the win.
After the game Chairman, Dempsey expressed disappointment, but
reflected on how well Bedford had played. He concluded by saying,
"From the possession and domination that we had in the first half,
we paid the price for not having registered a bigger lead by
Report by William Church
Picture by Nigel Rudgard
Pritchard, Tapley, Le Bourgeois, Dodge, Wigglesworth,
Sharp, Veenendaal, Moss, Clare, Currie, Howard (YC), Sheriff,
Tupai, Blanchett, Fenton-Wells (c).
Saunders, Parilli-Ocampo, Wells, Vandermolen, White, Jones,
Bell, Pointer, Locke, Hoskins, McCrea (YC), Bentley, Griffiths,
Lockwood (YC), Garcia-Vega, Heriott, Phillips, Rae (c), Haining,
Harris, Lancuba, Brennan, Markham, Kaho, Glynn, Hoskins.
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Half time: 3-8
Tries: Pritchard, Tapley, Sharp
Conversions: Pritchard (2)
Penalties: Pritchard (2)
Tries: Locke, Griffiths, Garcia-Vega
Conversions: Bell (1)
Penalties: Bell (1)
18 May 2023
DoR pays tribute to leaving players after title-winning season