Skip to main content

Sparked by a memorable Ryan Hutler hat-trick and 19 points from Pat Pellegrini Coventry claimed an entertaining 54-19 win over old rivals Bedford.

Alex Rae’s team scored eight tries in total, six of which came in a scintillating point-per-minute second half.

In the process Cov extended their winning sequence to seven games and strengthened their claims for a top-two finish while the Blues’ winless run at the Butts Park Arena now extends to 16 years.

A long spell of early pressure from the visitors ended when a thumping Will Wand tackle forced a turnover.

And it was Cov who were first on the scoreboard when Ryan Hutler anticipated his former club’s attempt to counter, picked off an interception and strolled under the posts.

After Pellegrini added the extras the home side went close to doubling their tally when Tom Ball stole a Bedford lineout and possession was swiftly moved left only for the last pass to go to ground.

This set something of an unwanted trend for Cov who proceeded to turn the ball over inside the Blues’ 22 on several further occasions before half-time.

Despite this, the hosts did manage to register a second score late in the opening quarter when Tobi Wilson and Jimmy Martin led a counter-attack that eventually saw a clever piece of play from Will Chudley put Ball in the corner.

Cov went 23 minutes before conceding their first penalty but then shipped five more prior to the break and as a result Bedford enjoyed a spell of dominance that delivered two of their three tries.

The first of these began with a powerful lineout drive before a midfield loop released Sean French then Louis Grimoldby picked up the pieces to force his way to the corner.

And shortly before the interval a sniping Alex Day break established the position from which prop Joey Conway eventually barged over from close range for a try which Grimoldby converted.

Vila Nairau carries into contact (photo: John Coles)

The teams therefore began the second half level-pegging before a sublime piece of Pellegrini individual skill created and finished a memorable third Coventry try.

The Tongan international claimed a long clearance kick on halfway and twice stepped defenders before racing to the corner for a score which he also upgraded with a fine kick.

And Cov had the bonus point on the board five minutes later when Obi Nkwocha plunged under the Bedford posts in support of a powerful drive from Adam Nicol.

Pellegrini added another conversion and the home no.10 soon split the uprights for a fourth time after the all-action Hutler took a neat Chudley offload and outpaced the cover in a superb diagonal 40-metre finish.

Incredibly the hosts almost immediately made it a third-quarter, four-timer and in the process sent Hutler skating into the corner to complete a fabulous hat-trick.

Pellegrini added the extras before reminding everyone of his range of skills by tracking back to bring down Jordan Onojaife as the Bedford replacement threatened a breakaway score.

Jimmy Martin then produced a carbon copy of his fly half’s earlier long-distance try when he gathered a Bedford clearance and beat three defenders in a mazy 50-metre finish.

Replacement scrum-half James Lannon claimed Bedford’s third try when he reacted fastest and darted over from a penalty awarded close to the home line.

Former Cov favourite Will Maisey added the conversion but it was the blue-and-whites who had the last word when Wand scooped up a loose ball in the visitors’ 22 and went under the posts for Cov’s eighth score of a productive afternoon.


Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Hutler (7) (50) (56), Ball (19), Pellegrini (41), Nkwocha (47), Martin (66), Wand (78)

Cons: Pellegrini (7) (41) (47) (50) (56) (66) (78)

Bedford Blues:

Tries: Grimoldby (24), Conway (39), Lennon (70)

Cons: Grimoldby (39), Maisey (70)


Coventry Rugby: Wilson (Mitchell 60); Hutler, Wand, Hitchcock Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley (Venner 58); Trinder (Nairau 58), Poole (Ma’asi 58), Nicol (Salt 58); Tyas, Nkwocha (Anstey 52); Ball (Stone 70), Kvesic, Owen (Ryan 50).

Bedford Blues: Le Bourgeois; French, Elliott (Baker 58), Matavesi, Adamson ; Grimoldby (Maisey 58), Day (Lennon 58); Conway (Jack 47), Fish (Fields 47), O’Connor (Heffernan 47); Williams (Onojaife 58), Woolford; Frost, Arthur (Curran 52), Howard

Referee: Harry Walbaum

Attendance: 3781

Half-time: Coventry Rugby 12-12 Bedford Blues