Bedford School’s bid for back to back titles in the National
Champions Trophy is still on track thanks to a brilliant 31-8 win over Canford
School in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The semi-final promised to be an exciting attacking game as
the current champions faced the in-form Canford.
Indeed, Canford were first to score thanks to a penalty in
the opening minutes. However, it was Bedford who clearly dominated the first
half. Ten minutes in Bedford Captain and Scotland U18 international,
Fraser Dingwall, landed a penalty to level the scores.
With 24 minutes on the clock, two penalties on the Canford
try line led to a penalty try for Bedford which was then converted by
Dingwall. Barely two minutes later Bedford were over again, this time a
wonderful sweeping move beginning deep in their own half, almost straight from
the kick off. The ball burst through several sets of hands before Joe Rogers in
the second row showed a surprising turn of speed to accelerate away and finish
a quite wonderful team try. Again Dingwall converted, and at 17-3 Bedford
looked very comfortable indeed.
Canford responded with a superb try to put them back in the
running. Undeterred, Bedford dug deep and replied with yet another try;
the second for Rogers. Another easy conversion by Dingwall took the home
team into the half-time break with a comfortable 24-8 lead.
Canford came out from the break determined and hammered away
but, despite stepping up hugely, they were unable to break through. Bedford
gradually pulled back into dominance, with the back row doing a brilliant job
on the floor, winning penalty after penalty as Conor Finch, Joe Wallace, and
Ryan Hussey began to dominate the battle up front, it was brilliant play and
played a huge role in securing the victory. As did the kicking of Johnson and
Dingwall in particular, who realised that with a healthy lead and a ticking
clock, all they had to do was keep the ball at the Canford end of the field.
With a little under ten minutes left on the clock, that
territory paid dividends as a lineout five metres from the Canford line was
snaffled by Bedford. Setting up the maul they released Finch, who barrelled
over for his side’s fourth try, and tying up the win in the process.
Dingwall’s conversion took the score past thirty at 31-8 and
really did finish off the game. Canford rallied admirably, and indeed spent the
bulk of the end of the game attacking Bedford territory, but they just could
not find a way through the stubborn red wall that is the Bedford defence.
An outstanding performance from Bedford in a hard-fought