Category Archives: Bedford Blues

“The Best Match Ever!”

(This article was first published in the matchday programme for Rotherham Titans v Connacht in the B & I Cup on Saturday 14/10/2017)

Dudley

When people ask how long we’ve been following Roth, I judge it by the shirt. The picture above, of John Dudley wearing what I still see as THE Rotherham shirt, takes me back to the epic game at Bedford when we got promoted to the Premiership. Best game ever? I certainly thought so back in 2000, even though we lost 14-0 on the day, but won 40-34 on aggregate! Last week someone at the club (Mr Sylvester?) put up the picture of John Dudley celebrating the win, and comments said it was 20 years ago? No – only 17, but it made a good story on Twitter and reminded me of many great days out at Bedford.

Last Saturday’s game there was a first for many though, as the match was live-streamed, through 24:7 TV, via the Championship and England websites. My Luddite other half still isn’t quite up to speed with advances in technology and, like others questioning this development; he wasn’t sure how it all worked. Did you have to pay to watch it? Was it really ‘Live’ or just highlights? Was it just on Sky TV? Would we end up with Stuart Barnes commentating? Perish the thought!

Quick answers – yes it’s free, you simply need a computer/tablet/phone with internet access, and it is definitely ‘Live’, even down to commentators perched on a wobbly platform and getting wet in the second half!

247 tv

As I sat in the very traditional Press Box, tweeting away on the small wooden foldaway bench, I was picking up comments from people all over the world, watching little old Roth playing ‘live’. Friends in Japan stayed up late to relive the feeling of watching Roth play Bedford, family in Cornwall enjoyed seeing Francisco play his first full game – he did ok too – and the nephew on the bus from Cornwall to Sheffield for the National County Swimming Championships was able to watch it as well, although he won’t have any data left this month!

Nearly 2.5K were at Bedford on Saturday to watch the game, despite it being streamed, so people obviously prefer the live action to watching on a screen. But if it allows fans in far flung places to watch, gives people a free opportunity to see what Championship rugby has to offer, perhaps it will help this league to grow and attract more people through the gates. My friend in Japan was sad though, as he was there on the day we finally got promoted and seeing us struggle these past seasons hasn’t been easy.

Nos Nosh

In front of us in the Press Box on Saturday was a very special birthday party. The young man in question celebrating his special day was 5 years old. One of his guests, sitting with his dad (who looked like he needed beer and earplugs desperately by the end) wanted to know who we were and what we were doing. His dad explained about newspapers etc and his son offered us a quote for our pieces: It was the ‘Best Game Ever’.

Judging by the excitement, the screaming and the way they were yelling for the Blues, it really was the ‘Best Game’ he’d ‘Ever Seen’. It was his first and only game so far! But I think he will be back, as will all of us who’ve supported Roth for so long. Bedford is still a place for making great memories, but I bet Paul Rickett doesn’t use the quote in the Advertiser!

 

 

#Friday Night Lights at Bedford Blues

 

So when is the best time to play a rugby match? No sarcastic answers such as ‘whenever we win’…..

Bedford have decided that Friday night, for some games, is the best way forward financially; they encourage people to come straight from work, have a drink and a meal, then stay on after the game, for live music and yet more beer. Since there were 2398 of us, in the pouring rain at Bedford on Friday night, it seems like this formula is working. After the match the marquee was packed, and so were the bars; hopefully a profitable night for them.

Looking at the attendances for Saturday’s games, I expected that there would be a decent crowd at Irish; 4025 people went, probably with a sizeable contingent from Welsh for this Exiles derby.

Over in Jersey 1702 people watched them lose to Scottish. We all know that every club tries to take as many fans as possible to this away game, always an epic trip, even if the rugby isn’t the most memorable part of it!

On Saturday afternoon we wandered over to Doncaster, where an awful scrappy game was thrown away by Nottingham, via 3 yellow cards and some shambolic line out work when camped on Donny’s 5m line. Apparently 1388 were watching, but they must have been in the hospitality boxes, or under the stand, as it looked a very small crowd indeed.

So back to the Friday Night argument and especially the negative effect on the away support. There was no supporters’ bus on Friday, which is most unusual. To get to Bedford, by bus, would have meant at least half a day off work for people, not a practical option. It was left to those of us with more flexible timetables (!), to find alternative ways to join in the fun. #ShedOnTour were there, noisy as ever, but via cars, not bus.

ps

Paul Selwood deserves an honourable mention for the expedition he undertook from Plymouth to Bedford, on public transport, to add his voice on Friday night. We tried that once, going from Doncaster by train, on a Friday afternoon, to get to Scottish v Rotherham out at the RAG. We made it by the skin of our teeth, just as the teams ran out, and the train home got us into the house just before 1am. We haven’t ever contemplated repeating that expedition!

Arguments on various forums point out that Friday night/Sunday afternoon games allow players from other local clubs to come along to watch, and if I have to choose, then I think that the Sunday option is preferable to Friday night. For Pirates games, which are almost always on a Sunday, it allows teams to travel on a Saturday to Cornwall, rather than brave the motorways on a Friday for a Saturday fixture. Nottingham have to play to suit the football teams’ requirements, and Leeds do what they do…..

Interestingly, the view of the players from Bedford about #Friday Night Lights was explored in their programme. As well as getting the weekend off, Mike Rayer had given them the Monday too, so a couple of guys were planning a fishing trip, others were off to Dublin and one was planning a box-set-binge weekend!

We managed 3 live games; Friday with Roth, Saturday with Donny and finally Roth’s old boys on the TV for Ealing on Sunday. Just a shame we lost…..

 

 

This article was first published in the matchday programme for Rotherham Titans v Doncaster Knights in the B&I cup on Saturday 15/10/16