Leeds Carnegie 25 Bedford Blues 45: Frozen pitch fiasco damages Leeds’s hopes at Cross Green

There was a bizarre end to Leeds Carnegie’s latest ‘On the Road’ fixture as referee Ian Tempest abandoned the game after 65 minutes due to a rapidly freezing pitch.

At that stage of the game at Otley’s Cross Green ground, Bedford Blues led 45-25 but Leeds had just scored their third try and were denied the chance to grab a try bonus point.

But the result stands because more than three quarters of the game had elapsed.

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However, in truth, Diccon Edwards’s were second best for most of the match.

All of the talk in the build-up to the game had been about the free-flowing style that Bedford play with and it seemed that even though Leeds knew what the Blues would throw at them, they had little to combat them in the first half.

Joe Ford had given the home side the lead early on with a penalty but after that the visitors dominated territory and possession and ran in five tries before the break.

The first and last of those tries came from No 8 Paul Tupai but it was the pace rather than power of the Blues that Leeds struggled to handle. In particular fly-half Jake Sharp was a constant thorn in the home side.

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Full-back Mark Atkinson scored the second try before he and Sharp exchanged passes down the short side for the fly-half to touch down midway through the half.

Just before that score Leeds had given themselves a lifeline with a well-taken try from David Doherty following a great last pass from Fred Burdon.

However, Bedford effectively killed the game off as a contest with two more tries before the break. Josh Bassett took advantage of good work by his forwards to secure the try bonus before Tupai was on Sharp’s shoulder to take an offload on the line and score. Leeds only had a Ford penalty in reply.

Both teams scored tries early in the second half with Phil Nilsen’s effort being cancelled out by Bedford prop Phil Boulton.

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The game lost its way after that following a serious leg injury to Bedford skipper Sacha Harding but when Ben Hooper crossed with 15 minutes to go it looked as if the home side could launch a late bid to snatch a try bonus point only for the officials to call time early.

Edwards, who felt the game should not have gone ahead, said: “We have been in a good run of form but we knew there was still a long way to go. We have come up against the best attack and been found wanting. That will burn away inside us until we get a chance to address that again.”

Leeds Carnegie: McColl, Goss, Griffin (Wilson 55), Burdon, D Doherty, Ford, J Doherty (Hampson 55), Lockwood (Harris 60), Nilsen (Graham 52), Tussac (Hooper 66), Green, Smith (Barrow 60), Beck (R Baldwin 40), Rowan, Burrows.

Bedford Blues: Atkinson, Stephenson, Burke (Pritchard 37), Vass, Bassett, Sharp, L Baldwin (Veenendaal 59), Fearn (Seal 50), Cochrane (Spurling 59), Boulton (Cooper 59), Howard, Gulliver, Rae, Harding (Fox 55), Tupai (Barrell 50).

Referee: I Tempest (RFU).