Blackheath 21 Bedford 38

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The pace and physicality of the Championship side succeeded in the end as Bedford scored four second half tries without reply to record this win.

But ahead of a tough start to their National League One campaign Blackheath can be pleased with a competitive performance against strong opposition which at times had them in ascendancy, although not at the outset.

As the hosts conceded a penalty from the first set-piece, Blues’ number-eight Sione Vailanu, who proved a mighty handful throughout, powered his way through for the opening try, and with the re-start failing to go ten metres, a second scrum saw scrum-half Jordan Burns evading tacklers for another score and 12-0 lead for the visitors in half as many minutes.

Nevertheless, as Blackheath found territory, Mark Cooke picked up off his toes to score, and a drive off line-out ball enabled Hayden King crash over, nudging the hosts into the lead on the half-hour.

For a while Bedford’s discipline deserted them, allowing Josh Davies, in his first match, to cross from a quick-tap which, with Joe Tarrant adding a third conversion, gave Blackheath a 21-12 advantage at the break.

Vailanu’s second try narrowed the deficit on 48 minutes, the back-row crashing over as ball moved across field, but it was two tries on the hour that settled the outcome.

With a raft of Bedford replacements quickening the tempo, centre Michael Le Bourgeois crossed as ball came into the midfield from a line-out, and straight from the re-start a lightning quick move had fellow centre Howard Packham and left-wing Dean Adamson combining down the left flank for the latter to show blistering pace and score the best try of the match.

Quick hands sent Packham across for Bedford’s sixth try on 68 minutes, and although Blackheath responded strongly in the closing stages, the Blues’ defence held firm to deny the Club any late consolation.

However, Blackheath can now look forward with confidence to the start of their National League One campaign which sees one of the title favourites, Plymouth Albion, arrive at Well Hall next Saturday.

Kick-off against Albion is at 3.00 pm.

Blackheath

Tries: Cooke, King, Davies
Conv: Tarrant 3

Bedford

Tries: Vailanu 2, Burns, Le Bourgeois, Adamson, Packham
Conv: Shepherd, Hooley 3

Graham Cox

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