Bedford v London Irish - part III
By LI Bohemian
December 4 2018
The cup Match between Bedford and Irish served to highlight the ambitions of both clubs, Bedford were down to the coach and some fringe players starting for this match on the horizontally challenged pitch. Irish had a pretty much, full strength pack and a reasonable, starting back line.
If this game is won by Irish, then the next round of the cup is achieved, there is also the point of not starting the league games with no-one knowing each other, being a bit rusty or the ignominy of being a favourite to win the cup and not making it out of the pool stages (England fans).
When watching both the teams warm up a few of the Bedford players were transfixed on the Irish players who were going through routines, maybe a bit nervous? Not a bit of it, because when the game started it was Irish who were jittery ceding possession and territory through inaccuracy and poor decisions. Bedford took their chances when they came, they also moved the ball in hand with great speed and accuracy, to such an extent they scored a well worked try, this was after a successful penalty kick.
Irish, as in the game a week previous to this one, roused themselves to score two tries.
After putting pressure on the Bedford line for long periods. The first try came from a pass out to the impressive Ben Loader who powered over to score, the second try was after more time near the Bedford try line, drawing in the Bedford defenders so when Myler threw a long pass to Topsy, he just had to score, this got Irish back into game, making the score 8 – 10.
Bedford managed to push Irish back into their own half and were awarded a penalty that they kicked to finish the half 11-10.
The first half saw Bedford playing down the slope, employing a fast paced running game, very well in fact but Bedford struggled in the lineout and scrum for most of the match. I did notice that the Bedford prop was allowed to put his hand on the floor to steady himself in the scrum, it gave Bedford a couple of scrums until his prop opposite him put his hand down as well, which apparently is legal now.
In the second half, Irish increased the intensity of their play to such an extent, that over the first 30 minutes of the second half, they absolutely blew the Bedford side away scoring four tries.
The Irish team pressurised Bedford into making errors they didn’t make in the first half, I feel Bedford were also looking a bit laboured compared to their excellent performance in the first half.
When the reserve players came on around the 50 to 60 minute mark Irish looked even stronger and Bedford did not.
Although at the end of the game there was the usual last push from Bedford and the usual flashing of yellows to Irish players, the Irish team showed some of the best rear guard defensive play on their try line that I’ve seen in a long time, where they seemed to have developed a strong resolve, stopping the obligatory end of game conceding of points, I hope this resolve is a permanent thing.
It was good to see Atkins get some game time at 10 in the last 10mins, the partnership between Mulcrone and Hepetema looked encouraging.
The officials interpretation of the new tackle laws was a bit confusing again and did not help either team, this week every now and then as if keeping a rhythm going the whistle would blow for a dangerous tackle, you would then see a couple of suspect tackles, that were ignored, then a player dipping his body at low speed in the point of contact would get a penalty awarded.pqs: qs:
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