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Select nearly topple pool winners

Dean Adamson: Flying winger scores in the corner
Dean Adamson: Flying winger scores in the corner
Dean Adamson: Flying winger scores in the corner

Bedford Blues 45

Scarlets Select 34

THE SCARLETS SELECT XV put in a valiant performance to push Bedford Blues all the way, with the home side having to work extremely hard to finally triumph over the side made up of Principality Premiership players in the final moments of the game.

Scores from Josh Buggea, Paul Tupai, Nick Fenton-Wells, Henry Staff, Sam Blanchet and Dean Adamson along with a penalty try secured the win but the Scarlets deserve full credit for their tenacious display, which almost cost the Blues dearly.

Bedford found themselves 14-0 down within ten minutes as the visitors took full advantage of a sloppy start by the hosts. The game was just four minutes old when a penalty to Scarlets was sent deep into the Blues 22 and from the resulting lineout, flanker Stuart Worrall drove over with Dan Jones adding the extras.

Jones was then on hand to double the visitors lead when he ran down Myles Dorrian’s attempted clearance kick before scooping in the ball and dotting down besides the posts before converting his own effort.

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The Blues had to wait until the 19th minute to finally get the scoreboard rolling after Dorrian found touch with a penalty. Bedford took the ball forward before being brought to a halt with the line begging. Pete White found Tupai who in turn popped the ball to Buggea who hurled himself over to score with Dorrian adding the extras.

Bedford levelled the game in the 24th minute when they reverted to the tried and tested driving maul. Another penalty went to touch before Harry Wells collected the lineout ball and the rest of the forwards piled in with Tupai dotting down from the back and Dorrian converting excellently.

There was a lengthy break in the game on the half hour mark when Scarlets prop Rhys Fawcett received lengthy treatment on the pitch after taking a knock. The loosehead had just split the Blues defence apart with a great break and released the support when he took the blow that ended his game early.

Scarlets capitalised immediately and ran in their third try of the afternoon shortly after the game restarted. Jones spotted winger Gavin Thomas in acres of space and sent a pinpoint kick straight into his arms for the score with the fly half then converting to make it 14-21 and that’s how it remained until half time.

Bedford were lucky that Scarlets didn’t extend their lead even further after Jones missed two penalty attempts in the 43rd and 46th minutes – the only real blots of the afternoon on the fly half’s copy book.

The Blues, however, made no mistake when they were presented with an opportunity in the 48th minute. Scarlets were down to 14 men when their hooker Torin Myhill was binned when he pinned an onrushing Jordan Burns to the floor as the scrum half tried to recycle the ball. Bedford opted from a scrum with Burns and Dorrian linking well before Fenton-Wells came crashing through to score and Dorrian levelled the scores again.

But the draw was short lived as Jones judged Dorrian’s pass perfectly to pluck it out of the air and run under the posts in the 52nd minute before converting once again to make it 21- 28.

Back the pendulum swung again though as the Blues scored the all important fourth try which secured the bonus point needed to progress to quarter-finals. Bedford had already powered the Scarlets pack off the ball to win a penalty five metres from the visitors line so it was only right that they did the same again leaving the referee no choice but to run under the posts giving Jake Sharp a simple two points.

Jones kicked two penalties in quick succession to give the Scarlets a slender six point lead, but Bedford responded in the 68th minute with a well worked try, which put them ahead for the first time in the game.

Bedford could smell blood and they wrapped up the win with two tries in the final five minutes from Sam Blanchet and Adamson.

It was the end of the road for the Select in the competition, but they have gleamed great experience from playing against the top sides, as was the intention when the side was formed to enter the cup.

Team: 15 Dion Jones, 14 Steffan Evans, 13 Jacob Cowley, 12 Billy McBryde, 11 Gavin Thomas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy: 1 Rhys Fawcett, 2 Torin Myhill, 3 Will Taylor, 4 Ben Thompson, 5 Jack Jones, 6 Jack Payne, 7 Stuart Worrall, 8 Trystan Lloyd

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Tom Kaijaks, 18 Steffan Thomas, 19 Owain Morgan, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Connor Lloyd, 22 Matthew Jacobs