Nottingham Give Bedford the Blues - by Joe
A floodlit Meadow Lane saw a crowd of over 1300 people
entertained by a Nottingham victory over Bedford which finished
19-10 to the home side to kick start the Green and Whites'
Nottingham started promisingly; a superb early break from Shaun
Malton set up a tough first penalty for debutant Will Maisey. This
didn't faze the young fly half and he duly slotted home the penalty
to make it 3-0.
Nottingham's iron curtain defence was in full force during a
period of early pressure from Bedford who mounted attack after
attack. Nottingham managed to hold on and clear the danger with the
clearance gained good field position which led to another tricky,
yet kickable penalty. Again, Maisey stepped up confidently putting
it over from 45 yards to make it 6-0.
The match remained fairly open, with both teams looking to show
their attacking capabilities when given the opportunity. Bedford
forced a penalty at the breakdown in the 20th minute to
get themselves into the match, Pritchard making it 6-3.
However, Nottingham were not to dwell on this. The following
re-start saw them earn a penalty, which saw Maisey restore their
six point lead.
Bedford then produced some incisive rugby that opened up
Nottingham's defence, allowing Bedford the chance to take three
points following an infringement at the breakdown. Instead, Bedford
opted for the corner and their courage was rewarded with the first
try of the game for Tom Williams from a clever line out move. The
conversion was added by Pritchard to make it 10-9 to Bedford.
With half time approaching, a superb solo 50 yard break from Ed
Styles saw him fall a few metres short of the try line. It was then
only a professional foul which prevented Nottingham from scoring
their first try of the season.
The resulting penalty saw the Blues lose a man to the sin bin
and skipper Brent Wilson confidently chose the corner over the
posts. The Nottingham pack seized upon their one man advantage,
bulldozing their way over with an unstoppable driving maul from
five metres out. It was the captain who managed to get the ball
down over the line for their first five pointer of the year. Maisey
converted and Nottingham went in at the break 16-10 up.
The second half failed to live up to the spectacle of the first
half as both teams tired. They showed intent to play but struggled
to string many phases together. Nottingham's defence was to hold
firm all half, with Bedford never looking like they were going to
break them down. This was backed up once again with a strong
scrummaging performance from the forwards who created a further
penalty opportunity for Maisey.
His flawless left boot provided another three points to make it
19-10 with twenty to go. The fly half was taken off shortly after,
however his impeccable kicking display and attacking performance
was to earn him the man of the match award on debut.
Nottingham were in control for the rest of the match and a
couple of narrowly missed penalties from Louis Grimoldby - one hit
the post - late on could have made the score line even sweeter. The
match finished 19-10 and was a promising start for the season ahead
from the Green and Whites.