The Reds suffered an agonising late defeat and had only a solitary bonus point to bring back from Goldington Road after an exciting match.
Just as they had done so in the Boxing Day thriller in 2016, the home side scored a try with the last play of the match to level the scores, and then converted to seal the win.
Brendan Cope took three points after some early pressure from the visitors, who then fell behind as Blues’ skipper Will Hooley flighted a cross-kick that was caught by Ryan Hutler, who touched down.
The Reds enjoyed a purple patch of 15 points in seven minutes. Alex Morgan took a pass from Will Homer after a lineout and powered through, Jake Upfield finished a rolling maul and Cope added a conversion and a penalty. The only downside was an injury to Janco Venter which caused the Namibian to be replaced by Upfield.
The Reds had the benefit of both the slope and a strong wind and needed to maintain an advantage up to the break, but in the end it was a lead of just a single point as Blues added two tries and a conversion in the closing stages of the half.
Greg Dyer scored the visitors’ third try soon after the break following a quick lineout, and the scoreboard otherwise remained unmoved going into the last 10 minutes. Hooley opted to take a penalty to narrow the deficit to five points and then the Blues cranked up the pressure.
Frantic Jersey defence kept the home side at bay – twice they were held up over the line – but eventually replacement number 8 Huw Worthington picked up from the base of a scrum and powered over.
The Reds used both new loan signings in the second half, Connor Edwards replacing James Newey at the break and then Arwel Robson coming on in the 49th minute after an injury to Leroy Van Dam.
On their return from Bedford, the Reds will look to regroup quickly and focus on the massive challenge of hosting old rivals Ealing Trailfinders at Stade Santander International on Saturday. Kick-off will be at 2pm, with live Guinness 6 Nations action to follow on the big screens at 4.45pm as Scotland and England do battle for the Calcutta Cup.
15. Rich Lane, 14. Ryan Hutler, 13. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 12. Sam Leeming, 11. Matt Worley, 10. Will Hooley (capt), 9. Grayson Hart; 1. Joe Wrafter, 2. Charlie Clare, 3. Henry Paul, 4. Jordan Onojaife, 5. Ed Taylor, 6. Oli Curry, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Alafoti Fa'osiliva
16. Robbie Smith (for Clare 55'), 17. Sean McCarthy (Wrafter 47'), 18. Alex Penny (for Paul 40'), 19. Will Carrick Smith (Taylor 49'), 20. Huw Worthington (Fa’osilva 49'), 21. James Lennon (Hart 49'), 22. Lewis Robling (Leeming 60'), 23. Pat Tapley (unused)
Greg Dyer, 14. Alex Morgan, 13. James Newey, 12. Rodney Iona, 11. Leeroy Van Dam, 10. Brendan Cope, 9. Will Homer; 1. Roy Godfrey, 2. Antonio Harris, 3. Alec Clarey, 4. Liam Hallam-Eames, 5. Rory Bartle, 6. Kyle Hatherell, 7. Josh Bainbridge (capt), 8. Janco Venter
Nic Dolly (for Harris 60’), 17. Harry Morley (Godfrey 54'), 18. Zei Alexis (Clarey 60'), 19. Conor Joyce (Hallam-Eames 63'), 20. Jake Upfield (Venter14'), 21. Luc Jones (Homer 47'), 22. Arwel Robson (Van Dam 47'), 23. Connor Edwards (Newey 40')
REFEREE: Hamish Smales. Assistants: Simon McConnell, John Meredith, Matt Sharpe
Tries: Hutler 10, Hart 33, Onojaife 40, Worthington 80
Conversions: Hooley 33, 80
Penalty: Hooley 72
Tries: Morgan 14, Upfield 17, Dyer 49
Conversions: Cope 14, 49
Penalties: Cope 3, 21
17 Nov 2022
Old rivals both seek to stretch start-of-season winning run to 10 games