The 1st XV were keen to put the disappointment of the Champions Trophy Final loss behind them and finish on a high. They made hard work for themselves as a fired up and committed Abingdon XV took a deserved lead with a penalty, closely followed by a converted try from a driving lineout. However, Bedford started to find their groove and managed to keep the ball long enough to score a well worked George Seward try. Probably the most phases they had put together all season and, with a dysfunctional lineout, Bedford had to make the most of the possession they had. Shortly before the half time interval a good counter attack from Ed Johnson put Will Kerr in a bit of space. Kerr showed some great footwork to beat two players and followed it with a beautifully weighted pass to put Oli Hind clear down the touchline. He, in turn, found Joe Rogers who hit a great supporting line to barge his way over the try line. Alfie Orchard converted both tries to give Bedford a 14-10 lead at half time.
After the break a more focussed Bedford team came out. However, a few errors in difficult playing conditions gave Abingdon a bit of early territory. As they have done all season, Bedford’s defence held firm and they were able to exit. Most of the remainder of the second half was played in Abingdon’s half as Bedford neatly mixed playing with attacking flare and playing for field position. They threatened the try line on a number of occasions, with Ryan Hussey, who was always a threat with ball in hand, regularly making yard upon yard beyond the gain line. The worsening conditions made it hard for both teams to keep possession and Bedford didn’t quite make it over the line. However, there was a little more magic to come for Bedford as Dalton, who has been faultless with his box kicking all season, put in a beautifully weighted kick to be intentionally gathered by Faysal Olabooye who sprinted away from all covering defenders to score the try that put Bedford out of sight, which was converted by Orchard. With the game in now in the closing stages, Abingdon had the last word and scored a second try from a driving lineout, a fitting tribute to the effort they had put in and determination they had shown. However, it was a positive end to a brilliant season for the Bedford XV, a season the boys can look back on with pride.
In the remaining senior matches, the 2nd XV were unlucky to concede a late try to a technicality and draw the match 12 all. Whilst the 3rd and 4th XVs produced quite brilliant team performances to win their games against impressive opposition.
The U16s A team played some fantastic attacking rugby to win their game. They have made huge progress this season and they will be particularly pleased to have kept a clean sheet against the team that beat them by a similar margin last year. The U16 B and C teams lost in fairly tight games but can reflect on a very positive season. The U16s will have a big impact on the senior teams next season in terms of attitude, commitment and general playing ability.
The U15s had a clean sweep of wins to end their much improved season in style. The U15 A and B teams were convincingly beaten by Abingdon last season, a demonstration on how far they have come in a year. They have always been a group with a lot of potential and it is starting to come to the fore. A good season of sevens will help develop their fitness and skill level further and I am sure they will be a force to be reckoned with in 2017.
This was not a good weekend for the U14 teams to be decimated with illness. Abingdon could boast similarly strong results this season so this was always going to be a tough battle. Bedford travelled with all resources available and faced Abingdon teams that lived up to their billing. Wins across the board for Abingdon but it’s not to say that the Bedford boys didn’t contend. They worked hard for the entirety of their matches demonstrating true Bedford grit. The same grit that helps the boys work hard in training and keep their desire to improve. This is a special group of boys who will continue to develop well, which means there could certainly be a different ending to the story for them next season.
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