Rugby Union: Cash problem stifling Bedford's rich future

Bedford 23 Leicester 32

AFTER SO much hard work, so much effort and enthusiasm to put a once-proud club back on the rugby map, it looks increasingly likely that it could all end in tears at Bedford. However worthy Frank Warren's contribution - financial and administrative - it seems that other businessmen in the area are more keen to keep their money where their mouths are. The club lacks a sponsor. There have been no offers to buy into a share of the club with Warren.

But by sitting on their cash, Bedford's money men are suffocating a club that has great potential. After all Bedford own their Goldington Road ground and their debts amount to a relatively modest pounds 300,000. "They have the look of a mid-table side," said the former England, Bedford and Northampton lock Martin Bayfield, after the youthful and inexperienced team had not so much tweaked as twisted the Tigers' tail.

No mean feat considering the troubled times in which they are expected to ply their trade. As if the threatened players' strike, then departure of coach Paul Turner were not enough, Bedford's future hangs in the balance. Warren, it is reported, is looking to sell; Geoff Cooke's position as chief executive and stand-in coach is uncertain.

"If my contract is honoured, and there are three more years to run, then I will be happy to see it through," was the former England manager's cryptic response to questions about his future. Cooke expressed his disappointment in the fall-off in support for the club.

There were 4,165 on the ground and Cooke said: "When I took the job I did so because I thought there was real potential for rugby in the town. Now I am seriously beginning to doubt it. We were getting 4,000 last season in the Second Division and the year before we had more than 5,000 for the Newcastle match. We have some of the best players in the world coming here, but what can we do to get people in here? We can't exactly go and drag them in off the streets."

The stay-aways missed a cracking game in which Leicester's tried-and- trusted streetwise approach proved just more than a match for the outright, in-your-faces approach and raw talent of Bedford's modern boys. It was a match though that had begun in tears. The Bedford captain, Rudi Straeuli, took Clem Boyd to one side when the muscular, Belfast-born prop had arrived at the ground and told him that there was something he wanted the Ireland A player to do.

South African No 8 Straeuli wanted Boyd, a former singer in a punk band and one-time school chorister, to give a rendition of "Danny Boy" before the team went out. "That was no problem," Boyd said. "I'm always singing on the coach." Straeuli's psychological tactic almost paid off. "We all had tears in our eyes when we went out there," admitted Straeuli, "perhaps we were too emotional, because we didn't start very well". They didn't. But by the end Leicester knew they had been in a hard game.

The lock Scott Murray made a huge impression, flanker Jason Forster is to be reckoned with, while the running of wing Darragh O'Mahoney, coupled with the power and pace of centres Alistair Murdoch and Joe Ewens suggest Bedford are worth paying to see. Pay day is Wednesday. So is D-day for many of the club's employees.

Bedford: Tries Forster, Murdoch; Conversions Howard 2; Penalties Howard 3. Leicester: Tries Back, Ezulike, Potter, penalty try; Conversions Stransky 2, Stimpson; Penalties Stransky, Stimpson.

Bedford: S Howard; R Underwood, A Murdoch, J Ewens, D O'Mahoney; T Yapp, C Harrison; N Hatley, J Richards, C Boyd, A Duke (D Zaltzman, 32), S Murray, R Winters (J Cockle, 59), R Straeuli (capt), J Forster.

Leicester: T Stimpson; L Lloyd, S Potter, P Howard, N Ezulike; J Stransky, J Hamilton; D Jelley (H Toews, 73), R Cockerill (D West, 63), D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), F van Heerden, P Gustard, M Corry, L Moody (N Back, 63).

Referee: C White (Cheltenham).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power