Coventry headed to Goldington Road to face familiar foes, Bedford Blues, in the second round of the 2022/23 Championship Cup. This match followed a disappointing result a week ago at Castle Park against Doncaster.
The first 10 minutes was a fairly nervy affair for both sides, which given the rivalry and close fixtures that have encountered between the two clubs, was more than understandable. The first score went to a name well known at Coventry, but a current Blues player, Will Maisey. Following a first show of ill-discipline from Cov, the fly half lined up a first kick at the sticks and as he often does, sent the ball over successfully.
The home side continued to mount pressure with their fluid attack. Following a Blues kick that was touched down safely in the dead-ball area, Pat Pellegrini did what he could with the goal-line drop-out as Bedford launched another attacking set. This one, however, ended with a Bedford try as former Northampton Saint, Jamie Elliot, went over in the corner. (8-0)
The two teams looked equal in exchanging attacking and defensive blows, and it seemed likely that the scoreboard technician’s would be somewhat redundant until the second half. That was until the 36 minute mark as Josh Bainbridge won the Coventry lineout, before 5 patient phases from the forwards resulted in Suva Ma’asi crashing over for yet another try this season. Pat Pellegrini added the extra two points from the tee before the two sides headed in to the sheds for a much needed break.
Half time: 8-7
Unfortunately, from a Coventry point of view, Bedford came out the more threatening of the two sides as the Blues scored just 3 minutes in to the second period, putting the pressure back on the Cov team as Maisey knocked over his conversion. (15-7)
The game seemed to be slipping away as a another couple of Will Maisey penalties flew over the posts to extend the home side’s lead to 21-7. However, all Cov supporters know that this young squad is not one to go down without swinging. Will Chudley made a break in midfield, before the ball went through the hands to find Pat Pellegrini who ran it home under the sticks. The fly half converted his own try and things were looking tight at 21-14.
Bedford landed a further blow with 3 more Will Maisey points, however, with just 10 minutes left to play, Pellegrini snaffled the loose ball and crashed his way over the try line before once more converting his own score. (24-21)
Cov just couldn’t quite continue this momentum to take lead, as Bedford managed the last word with yet another penalty kick from the left boot of Will Maisey, who was near-perfect off the tee. Bedford closed out the game 27-21, as Alex Rae’s men were left disappointed with a second successive Championship Cup defeat.
Thank you to all the travelling supporters who made their way to Goldington Road, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Butts Park Arena next Saturday, 19th November, when we face London Scottish.