A below par performance saw Bedford Athletic fall to a 25 points to 11 defeat.
In a match dominated by their visitors they were outscored by 4 tries to 1 and at times overrun as they failed to match the enthusiasm and energy of their newly promoted opponents.
A poor afternoon for the home side began immediately when they conceded a penalty from the kick-off for a late challenge in the air. They did however have first points with a Leo Mortimer penalty but Sevenoaks were quick to respond. They were helped by unnecessary home indiscretions conceding territory and possession and once within striking range they got a very effective rolling maul going resulting in a try to flanker Fred Richardson in the tenth minute. It went unconverted and the home side ended the first quarter in the lead with another Mortimer penalty rewarding a long period of possession that had lacked penetration. With Bedford Athletic continuing to offer the ball back to their visitors at every opportunity another driving maul ended the same way with a try for hooker S Sedgwick. As it was again unconverted it meant that the home side were reached half time with the lead. Against the run of play they broke from defence, Morgan Dayes powered down the wing and punched sufficient holes to allow Stephen Woodhead to cross for his first try of the season. Mortimer was unsuccessful with the conversion and Bedford Athletic led 11-10 at half time.
The disparity in the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of the two sides was evident from the start of the second half. A poorly chased box kick allowed Sevenoaks full back J Livett to collect the ball, run round the defence and set no.8 Sean Derrick free to speed to the line for a try this time converted by Tom Simmonds and a 17-11 lead. The home side were now unable to make any headway with the visitors sticking to their processes and driving their hosts back time and time again. They kicked a penalty for a 20-11 lead in the 50th minute but when the Bedford Athletic restart went out on the full and the scrum was penalised from the reset the die was cast for the rest of the afternoon. Sevenoaks controlled everything, Bedford Athletic could not get through more of a couple of phases without making an error and it was a surprise they managed to hold out for another 20 minutes before conceding the fourth try once again powerfully finished by Derrick when the Athletic pack were reduced to seven whilst Rob Watkins sat out ten minutes with a yellow card. With the winning margin now established at 25-11 Bedford Athletic huffed and puffed for the final ten minutes and even with Sevenoaks’ flanker M Macrae in the sinbin they still could not exploit a way through or round the visiting defence for what would have been a bonus point score.
Bedford Athletic have a lot to fix in terms of attitude, application and approach before their first away game this Saturday at Tring kicking off at 3.00pm.