By LI Bohemian
February 13 2019
This is my third visit to the Goldington road ground; I took my usual place opposite the main stand, against the advertising boards on the halfway line, whilst the teams were warming up.
The first thing I saw on the pitch was Matt Williams being assisted by a medic back to the changing rooms, I asked who were the possible replacements and a very knowledgeable lady LI supporter said “Tonks or Hassell-Collins.”
The game kicked off with Irish playing up the slope, into the wind and with the sun, although not that bright, in the ball catcher’s eye line.
The ball was won by Irish from the kick off and Irish worked their way into the uplands of Bedford territory, Irish managed to stay in the Bedford half, playing some good attacking moves with the ball going through the hands, notably by the successful center pairing that Irish have now. A couple probing grubbers that were cleared by Bedford and some line breaks that just couldn’t get clear of the Blues defence were all Irish had to show for it though.
Against the run of play, the Bedford right wing took a chance and broke forward onto an Irish pass from in front of his try line to sprint the length of the pitch and score under the posts at the bottom of the slope.
The Bedford score was a wake up call to Irish, they were in a serious game and accuracy would be paramount, Irish pretty much, through great interplay and intelligent use of possession with the ball scored a try immediately. It was Macken the make shift winger, in for the injured Matt Williams, that scored.
Then the game had a settled period, which saw Irish penalized at the breakdown on numerous occasions, the resultant penalty kicks were quite far out, but with the wind and the superb kicking ability of Jake Sharp, Bedford got a 16-7 lead, this coupled with a surprising yellow card for Hoskins tackling before retreating ten yards, on the half way line, made for some nervous moments, amongst the Irish faithful.
Irish showed great character by getting back into the game, scoring a try at the end of the first half, as with their first score, Irish worked their way up to the Bedford line through passing moves plus good ball retention, enabling Steele to go over.
The Bedford support gave their loudest cheer of the game so far when Atkins missed his conversion, kicking into the wind, charming.
At half time it was realized that Irish had lost a few players through injuries, but maybe with the favorable conditions in the second half Irish could close out the game.
This is the fourth time I’ve watched Bedford this season and the feeling is always the same, they have a fantastic, pacey and aggressive back three, good half backs, a decent pack of forwards which enables them to counter very dangerously, but while the club seem to lack enough ambition they will never quite get the better of Irish. They messed up some gilt-edged chances in the first half, with the conditions and slope in their favour, it was the first half when Bedford should have pulled away from Irish and they could not take their chance.
Although the second half was not a done deal, tries by Hepatema and Big Trev wrapped up the bonus point for Irish.
A try resulting from some serious blocking gave Bedford a chance to nick a win at the end of the game, but Irish regrouped and kept possession to run down the clock.
This game, Pirates away and now Leeds away are the tough games left that Irish need to win to comfortably be promoted, one down two to go.pqs: qs:
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