Doncaster Knights v Bedford Blues: Tom James set for Blues reunion

Tom James
Tom James

Scrum-half Tom James only scored two tries for Bedford Blues in his debut season at Goldington Road.

But one of them helped earn him a full-time contract with high-flying Championship rivals Doncaster Knights.

The then 23-year-old caught the eye of director of rugby Clive Griffiths when picking up the ball around 40 metres out and racing clear before rounding Tyson Lewis.

He also set up a try for wing Dean Adamson with a teasing angled grubber-kick – though neither try could save the Blues from defeat as Knights romped to a 40-22 win to complete a league double over the home side.

When Griffiths started to look around for a second scrum-half good enough to challenge Michael Heaney for the No 9 shirt, he remembered the speedy James and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Clive sold the club to me and it seemed a pretty good place to come,” he said.

“I was looking for full-time rugby and probably a bit more game time.

“I knew that wouldn’t be easy because Michael is a good player and he was already established in the side and that he would start the season with the shirt.

“But I feel like I’m pushing him, which is bringing the best out of each other and which is good for the team.”

Although James had only scored two tries in 17 appearances for Bedford last season, he had got into double figures playing for Loughborough Students – where he also occasionally played full-back and wing when injuries struck - the year before in National One.

It was a record which saw him picked for England Students.

The Welshman knew that James, who has scored in the last two games, had tries in him and he has been proved right.

Not only is the six-foot half-back capable of scoring outstanding long-range individual tries, but his pace makes him an excellent support player.

Given the respective records of the two teams in recent seasons, James probably did not expect third-placed Blues to be heading to Knights above them in the table ahead of the game at Castle Park.

“They’ve made a pretty good start to the season and they score a lot of tries so it should be an interesting game.” he told The Free Press.