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FULL TIME: Nottingham Rugby 25 Bedford 17


IN FRONT of the Sky television cameras Nottingham put in another good performance to earn victory in the second versus third clash at Meadow Lane.Streather try

TRY TIME: Alex Lewington finds Tim Streather out wide for Nottingham's first try. PIC: Steve Galloway.

Their 25-17 win over Bedford also avenged what many saw as the biggest injustice of the season, when the two sides met at Goldington Road last September.

On that occasion, even diehard Bedford supporters were at a loss to understand where almost 14 minutes of injury time came form that allowed Blues to eventually force a decisive late score to give them a 27-25 win.

For much of Sunday's game though it was Nottingham in dominant form, the sheer intensity of their play proving too much for the visitors.

Although the closing ten minutes or so saw Bedford claw their way back into it, any thoughts of a repeat of the Goldington Road clash were firmly repelled by the disciplined Nottingham defence.

With first use of the wind the Green and Whites forced an early penalty for James Arlidge to kick them into the lead.

From the restart a fine attack almost saw David Jackson clear, but with play in the visitors half another penalty soon came for Arlidge to double the lead on six minutes.

It was all Nottingham in this impressive opening spell but it was almost midway through the first half before the opening try came, man-of-the-match Tim Streather getting on the end of an overlap and Arlidge making it 11-nil with the conversion.

Bedford then found themselves a man short following a yellow card for prop Phil Boulton and Nottingham thought they had capitalised almost immediately as Jackson appeared to have crossed in the right hand corner.

But the referee called for the television match official's assistance and replays showed that Jackson had been held up by a particularly good tackle.

Minutes later video technology was again in play, but this time to confirm a try for Sean Romans - his first for the club - after Brent Wilson had made the breakthrough, Arlidge again converting to make it 18-0.

And then it was Alex Lewington's turn to have a try disallowed when he put a foot in touch as he sprinted for the corner.

A late rally from Bedford brought them a penalty, but James Pritchard's effort drifted across the face of the posts.

That meant Nottingham went in at the break with an 18-point advantage, but the feeling was that they could and should have had more.

As if to underline that point, the visitors made strong start to the second half with Pritchard getting their first points on the board with an early penalty.

But the Green and Whites were straight back on the attack to win a penalty, which Arlidge kicked to touch. Although they lost the ball at the resulting lineout they quickly won it back and went close down both wings.

The pressure eventually proved too much for the Bedford defence and the referee awarded a penalty try, which Arlidge converted to make it 25-3 on 56 minutes.

As the game moved into the final quarter though, the visitors got themselves back into it with a try down the left from winger Josh Bassett which Pritchard converted to make it 25-10.

Clearly boosted by this score Bedford enjoyed their best spell of the afternoon and created a few half chances, but Nottingham managed to hold them out and reply with some impressive counter attacks.

One of these saw the video referee again disallow a Nottingham try, this time for Rhys Crane who lost control of the ball as he dived over in the corner.

A try in the final minute of normal time from replacement James Stevenson, converted by Jake Sharp, meant there were just eight points in it, and it stayed that way as Nottingham continued to defend stubbornly.


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