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Bedford storm to victory against Harrow

Bedford showed once again this season that they are a tough nut to crack as they travelled down to Harrow’s beautiful 1st XV pitch, and beat them by a convincing 42-13 scoreline.

The performance came despite travel woes that saw kick off delayed by 45 minutes, leaving a few nervous souls on the touchline with had various school duties to attend…or avoid.

Bedford came out of the traps fast, unsurprisingly given their past two results, a 51-0 victory over Uppingham and a 17-5 win away at QEGS Wakefield in the Schools Champions Trophy.

That fast start gave them an 8-0 lead after just six minutes, putting Harrow firmly on the back foot. However the home side had not seen much ball yet, and with their first few forays into Bedford territory they managed to level things up at 8-8 following a try by the excellent Callum Sirker.

With Richard Hill in attendance, it was a good time to shine for anyone, unfortunately for the hosts though, it was Bedford who were doing most of the shining. Scoring a well worked try from a scrum before cruelly, oh so cruelly, scoring an intercept try right on the half time whistle.

That left Harrow 20-8 down at the break, and you had to feel for them. Bedford had been the better side, but at 13-8 you felt that Harrow still had a real chance, that intercepted score just felt like a real dagger to the heart, and created something of a mountain for them to climb.

It has been a tough start to the season for Harrow, losing their opening three games, but all credit to them, they came out for the second half absolutely charged for the fight. Within five minutes Sirker had unleashed his centre partner to race away an score, closing the gap to seven points at 13-20.

It was Bedford who seemed to find spark from the score though, scoring a bulldozing forwards try soon after, before a Paddy McDuell penalty took the score out to 13-30, and looking pretty ominous for Harrow.

With their tails up, Bedford were in no mood to start letting up, after all – they have a Champions Trophy second round tie against the formidable Grammar School at Leeds 1st XV this time next week – every second is going to count in that game, and Bedford were determined to replicate that intensity this afternoon.

And so they did, their scrum half was proving a real livewire, tapping and going at every opportunity, forcing the pace and turning the Harrow defence on its heels – it was Dawsonesque.

The tactic soon paid dividends as one of his scything breaks released his winger, who raced away, and showed a lovely instinct for finishing, to complete his hat-trick and bring the score out to 37-13 following a brilliant touchline conversion from McDuell.

McDuell was not just content with having kicks at goal to his name though, and shortly after he found a gap in the Harrow defence to score a try of his own and to complete the Bedford scoring. It took them twenty-nine points clear at 42-13, and on their second half performance, you had to say it was deserved.

It was yet another tough outing for Harrow, but it would be unwise to write them off yet. They have some top, top players, particularly in their back row and their 10/12 axis, and with a horde of injuries to return (their pitchside was almost as laden with crutches as people), they will be a much stronger force later in the year.

The truth is though that not many can live with Bedford’s style of rugby. They use the full width of the pitch and their forwards are incredibly disciplined in remaining spread across the pitch, allowing the team to attack and retain the ball with ease from anywhere.

The big question for Bedford now is; will it be enough to halt the juggernaught that is Grammar School at Leeds? On this evidence, it is going to be one hell of a game.

Full Time: Harrow 13-42 Bedford

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