Llanelli made the long journey to Bedford in Round 2 of the British and Irish Cup and to their credit came back west with a valuable losing bonus point.
An excellent vociferous crowd of over 2,500 welcomed both teams in what was being billed as ‘ladies day’.
Llanelli most certainly never started this game like they finished last Saturday against luckless Connaught Eagles.
Bedford with their ball in hand approach dominated most of the match but it was Llanelli who opened the scoring with a Josh Lewis penalty.
Hooker Charlie Clare and wing Ollie Dodge scored two quick tries both converted by captain James Pritchard.
Maybe the four and half hour bus drive played a small part but the Llanelli squads’ energy levels appeared somewhat below par. However, despite this and the little possession they had, the young “Scarlets” back line looked lethal. Then on 28 minutes the B&I tournaments top try scorer Aaron Warren scorched away for a try against the run of play for Josh Lewis to convert. Josh was having another fine match and it was good to see Lewis Rawlins back from injury putting his usual workmanlike performance.
With the half coming to an end, on 38 minutes, some excellent play from the Llanelli team should have resulted in a corner try only to be denied by a deliberate knock on. Captain Pritchard was duly put in the bin but the referee deemed ‘no penalty try’ much to the shock of the visitors. Unbelievably on the next play flanker Darren Fox tripped up another Llanelli attack and if the ref would have red carded him and or awarded a penalty try the vast majority at the game would have not disagreed with him. Referee Gary Conway of Ireland deemed another ‘yellow’ was suffice.
But despite their numeral disadvantage Bedford were still in charge of possession and 13 men Bedford added another try from Le Bourgeois. Back to their full compliment, Bedford further extended their lead with their fourth try and bonus point from second row Howard for a 24-10 lead.
Llanelli Hooker Darran Harris then lit up his sides performance with a breathtaking 60 metre sprint to the line with the persuing Bedford backs unable to touch him, Josh Lewis converting to bring his team back to within seven points.
Bedford then made the game safe with their fifth try of the game from replacement Edwards and with the last throw of the dice Llanelli managed to work Aaron Warren over in the 80th minute, converted by replacement Johnny Lewis to salvage a very welcomed losing bonus point
Bedford 29 -24 Llanelli RFC