Bedford Athletic achieved their highest ever league score and biggest ever league victory with a resounding 104-0 win over Market Rasen & Louth.
On a day of records, 16 was the highest number of tries in a league game, James Mortimer’s 12 conversions was the most by an individual in a league fixture and Josh Cassell’s 5 tries equalled the club try scoring record.
The first try arrived in the third minute when John Clarke rumbled over at the back of a rolling maul. Market Rasen then had a decent period of play with runners arriving from deep threatening the home defence but when Bedford Athletic turned the ball over, James Mortimer dropped a cross field kick straight into the hands of an onrushing Josh Cassell for his first try. Market Rasen were conceding penalty after penalty and this allowed Bedford Athletic frequent visits to their 22. On the next visit the forwards rumbled to the line and when the backs came into play James Mortimer darted through a gap for a try by the posts on 13 minutes. The bonus point was secured on 16 minutes when another sweeping Bedford Athletic attack saw centre Tom Bills do well to release the ball out of the tackle to allow Cassell his second try. On 22 minutes Mortimer was pulling the strings again as an inside ball allowed James Gardner to crash through and score and on 26 minutes it was his crossfield kick that Cassell wrestled out of the hands of his opposite number to speed away for his hat trick and the sides sixth try. Mortimer converted all six tries in the first half passing 1,300 points for the first XV in the process. Market Rasen showed some life toward the end of the half as they stopped giving away penalties and retained possession for periods of time but without threatening their opponent’s line. Bedford Athletic led 42-0 at half time.
That life was soon extinguished at the start of the second half when Cassell went through a large gap without a hand laid on him for his fourth try. Mortimer converting. Another break from distance was hauled down short of the line and Market Rasen finally received a yellow card for persistent infringements. Bedford Athletic chose a scrum from the penalty and shoved the opposition pack over the line for a try to Andy Ince. Mortimer did not convert this try but did convert the next as Harry Sawford-Smith ran across the defence before crossing by the posts. Bedford Athletic were now 61-0 ahead with 55 minutes played. From here on the home side were rampant. Ben Middleton excelled in securing every kick off, the forwards punched holes and the backs ran hard at their opponents. Jake Foster picked up a brace of tries in the 60th and 63rd minutes, Nick Thomas powered over in the 65th minute, Cassell scored his 5th try of the day in the 68th minute and even replacement prop Josh McCann got in on the act with a try in the 72nd minute. Two more conversions from Mortimer took the score to 90-0 and having been denied the 100 point mark with an early finish the previous week, Bedford Athletic finished the job this time with tries from Charlie Darlow and Harry Sawford-Smith to pass 100 points for the first time in their league history. Two more conversions for Mortimer took him to 29 points in the match, equalling his personal best from the previous week but more significantly taking him to 115 points from 7 matches this season.
The result sees Bedford Athletic return to the top of the league table a position they will look to defend when they travel to Melton Mowbray on Saturday where kick off is at 3.00pm.