By ANDI STARR
A disappointing second half from Nottingham means they go into
next weekend's second leg against Bedford with a nine-point
It would have been worse but for an injury time penalty try that
cut the home side's advantage.
Playing up the notorious Goldington Road slope in the first half
they put in a good performance to lead 10-9, thanks to a try from
With the advantage of that slope to come they looked favourites
at the break.
But they gifted Bedford a try in the opening minute of the
second half and Blues never looked like losing the initiative.
A couple of penalties in the first quarter from Myles Dorrian,
sandwiched either side of a reply from Arlidge, gave Blues a 6-3
Nottingham looked strong in the set pieces but it was the home
side who dominated possession, although it was a couple of minutes
from the break though before they finally stretched their lead with
a third penalty from Dorrian
Minutes later though Arlidge charged down an attempted clearance
kick from Ben Ransom and showed some impressive footballing skills
before touching down.
His conversion gave Nottingham that one-point lead at
But a similar charge down in the opening minute of the second
half gifted Blues a try, Mark Atkinson getting the touch down after
exchanging passes with Brendan Burke.
Dorrian's conversion made it 16-10.
From this point on it was Bedford who dominated, although Alex
Lewington almost scored in the corner after David Jackson had sent
A fourth penalty from Dorrian made it 19-10 before Ransom then
beat the Nottingham defence to touch down, with Dorrian converting
to make it 26-10.
A strong finish from the Green and Whites though saw them grab a
lifeline with that late penalty try.
A last gasp drive from the pack, from a close-range lineout, had
Bedford in trouble and when Phil Boulton pulled it down he was
shown a yellow card. Nottingham opted for a scrum and again had the
home defence struggling before the referee ran between the posts to
award the penalty try, with Arlidge slotting over the
And so, after that impressive first half the Green and Whites
did well to bring it back to just a nine-point losing margin, and
set up what promises to be a tense battle at Meadow Lane this
Friday (May 10 - 8pm kick-off).