army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Encouraging performance from Army Men v Bedford Blues

The Army Men put in an encouraging performance as they went down 48-19 to Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.

The visitors made a fast start with Pte Deucu (RLC att 2 Med Regt) peeling off a maul to crash over on eight minutes, Spr Jack Johnson (RE) adding the extras.

Yet they failed to deal with the restart, gifting Bedford a five-metre scrum before two penalties, a yellow card for Johnson and a quick tap-and-go from Jamie Jack saw the prop wriggle over the line.

Matt Arden’s conversion levelled the game, and his side moved in front shortly after as the Red Shirts again failed to deal with a kick, Blues then showing some nice interplay from the 22 to finish through Pat Tapley.

Army hit back midway through the second quarter, however, Sgt Matt Dawson (Int Corps) rolling out of a maul before carrying near the line, the flanker’s well-timed pass sending Lt Frank Kelly (AGC (SPS)) crashing over from close range against his former club.

After Johnson hit the post and with the rain now teeming down, it was Blues who took command before the break, however, hooker Tommy Herman firstly picking up a loose ball from his own line-out and making some 25 metres into the Army 22 before a sensational off-load sent Jordan Onojaife charging over on the left.

The Red Shirts then gifted Bedford another through ill-discipline, going off-side with the hosts 10 metres from their own line and then pulling down a maul illegally.

Arden’s two lengthy kicks to touch took his side from one end of the pitch to the other, and from another maul, Jac Arthur crossed the whitewash.

The conversion made it 26-12 at the break, and most of the first 25 minutes of the second period was played between the respective 22s, neither side having any clear-cut chances.

But it was the home team who added a real gloss to the score-line late on, grabbing four tries in the final quarter.

The first was the score of the night, man-of-the-match full-back Ewan Baker showing pace, power and a couple of marvellous sidesteps to run in from 60 metres out, while a penalty try was perhaps harshly awarded shortly after.

When the Army dropped the ball in midfield, it was hacked ahead twice by Blues and despite looking like it was running uncontrollably over the dead-ball line, a push in the back near the whitewash saw Capt Matt Smart (1 Yorks) sin-binned and seven points added to the tally.

Bedford were now in full flow and a terrific move from within their own 22 should have resulted in another score, the hosts twice stopped just short before Army ripped the ball and cleared their lines.

It was a temporary respite, though, as a scintillating run from Ryan Apps saw him go from 22 to 22, his pass sending Geordie Irvine galloping towards the line.

And while a wonderful tackle halted the replacement, the ball was quickly shipped out for his fellow Northampton Saint Arden to touch down.

The Army refused to yield, however, and hammered away at the line – Apps sin-binned for not releasing – before finally getting over through Lt Connor Mitchell (2 ANGLIAN).

Back from his rest, Smart added the extras from in front of the posts, but it was Blues who sent the majority of an impressive crowd of 1,413 away happy as substitute second row Alex Woolford – who put in a remarkable chip into the Army 22 – got the ball back to finish the scoring.

Army are next in action at home to Irish Defence Force on Thursday, April 18 kick off is at 1930hrs and entry is free.


Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn

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