Bedford Athletic were comprehensively beaten 46-12 at home by Dorking.
In a key encounter in the battle against relegation the side offered few in the way of scoring chances and struggled to make an impact in their heaviest home defeat of the season.
Dorking offered the greater intensity and aggression from the start and would have taken an earlier lead than they did had it not been for several timely Stephen Woodhead tackles. From a charge down of a clearance kick, Dorking won a scrum and after several phases powered to the line where JP Alberts dived over on 12 minutes, Killian Wilson converting. With some possession, Bedford Athletic looked to respond but a floated pass was intercepted, Dorking cleared deep into the home half and when they won a penalty for holding on to the ball in front of the posts, their hosts looked and watched while the quick tap was spread wide to wing Cameron Osborne for the score and a 12-0 lead. When hooker Brett Richmond was sin binned for retaliation, Dorking kicked the penalty deep into the home 22, from the lineout centre Ryan Jeffrey broke the line and created the space for fly half Andrew Ramsden to finish off the score. It was half an hour before the home side were able to get into their opponents 22 and when they did their attacks were over powered, one held up and one pushed into touch. They did win a penalty which Leo Mortimer nudged wide and when they failed to resource a ruck properly from the restart, Dorking won a penalty for holding on on the half way line which Wilson slotted for a 20-0 half time lead.
Bedford Athletic did have possession from the start of the second half but knocked the ball on. From the scrum Dorking patiently went through numerous phases driving ever closer to the home line until eventually they were held up over it. From the scrum no.8 Rory Mitchell broke and smashed over the line for the bonus point try which Wilson converted on 51 minutes. With a couple of penalties of their own Bedford Athletic were finally able to exert pressure on the away line and following a couple of lineout drives the ball was spread wide for Ben Thompson to dive over in the corner on 55 minutes. The try went unconverted and as the home side tried to get back into the game they were undone when another intercept pass allowed Toby McRae to speed clear for another try converted by Wilson on the hour mark. By now Bedford Athletic were beginning to offer a little more continuity in their play but when an attacking ruck was turned over 5 metres from the Dorking line, Ramsden started a move from behind his own goal line that saw Killian Wilson finish the try at the other end of the pitch to stretch the lead to 39-5. Some neat interplay saw Bedford Athletic score next on 74 minutes as Charlie Darlow and Harry Sawford-Smith made inroads, and when the ball was recycled it was Sawford-Smith who crossed for the try which Mortimer converted. The final say still went to Dorking. A forward pass gave them a scrum, wing Tom Hunt broke free, no.8 Mitchell sliced through a retreating defence and Jeffrey was on hand to finish off the try which this time Ramsden converted.
A difficult game for Bedford Athletic was highlighted by the fact they turned the ball over no fewer than 19 times when in possession, eight of these leading directly or indirectly to their opponents scores. With seven games to play Bedford Athletic will need greater composure, discipline and attacking threat to bridge the seven point gap to safety from relegation. With a week’s break this challenge continues away to Brighton in two week’s time.