Report by Alistair Webley
The improvement in intensity was evident from the warm up and Bedians took control of the game from the kick off.
Strong set plays form the forwards and excellent running and moves from the backs led to a flurry of chances early in the first half and but for a few dropped balls there would have been 3 or 4 tries early on. However positive attitudes from all players ensured that Bedians didn’t let frustration affect their game and they were duly rewarded when a strong line out followed by a perfectly executed backs move resulted in Arthur Menard going over in the corner.
Some strong running from all forwards but in particular Marcus Frew and Richard Thomson drove the team down the pitch combined with breaks from the backs, Joe Powell having an excellent first half on the wing and Bedians were soon pushing for another try. A loose ball coming out of the back of a ruck on the Ashton try line was pounced on for what was later described as a “game changing try” by James Gaffney.
At this point Ashton hadn’t made it into the Bedians half and the 1sts were two tries up. Inevitable Ashton pressure followed but Bedians held firm on their line and then strong kicks from Rob Blewitt, strong tackles and jackling by Alex Rakowski and sniping runs from Ben Rogerson around the breakdown moved us back down the field. However Ashton weren’t the sort of team to give up and the 10 consistently pegged Bedians back down the pitch after each foray forward. Eventually Arthur Menard produced a missile of a kick from our 22 deep into theirs and then with the Ashton line out failing time after time to deal with the offset drive the Bedians forwards driven on by the excellent prop pairing of Tom Ash and Sean O’Rourke drove to the Ashton line. Rogerson wrestled the ball out of the pile of bodies on the try line and popped it out to the waiting James Gibbs who wasn’t going to be stopped from 5 metres out and scored a deserved try.
The second half kicked off with continued pressure form Bedians, with Ashton having a solid scrum but only one jumper in the line out and a game based mainly on one out running from the forwards the vastly more expansive game of Bedians was proving tough for them to handle. This more expansive game resulted in the next Bedians try, Richard Thomson taking a ball from Rob Blewitt in the middle of the park selling a dummy to the Ashton defender and running it in from outside the 22 to score.
At four tries up the Bedians pressure did falter for a patch and Ashton to their credit took full advantage and scored inevitably through their forwards. However this only served to spur on Bedians who responded almost immediately through Rob Blewitt.
With the game in the last minute and Ashton having a line out on their own 22 they gallantly continued to try and play however Pat Willis used his magic at the breakdown to somehow secure Bedians the ball from the resulting ruck and then Tim Hughes had a strong run deeper into the Ashton 22. What followed was perhaps the best reflection of how Alan Jack's coaching has affected our play. Whereas perhaps in the past a forward taking the ball from the ruck would have driven the ball forwards towards the Ashton line, instead Richard Thomson took the ball saw the space out wide and it passed through 2 sets of forward hands finally out to the 4 waiting backs any one of which could have run it in, in the end it was Ben Owen who’s try capped off a strong Bedians performance.
Man of the Match - Richard Thomson