Bedford Athletic 19 Rochford Hundred 40

A disappointing Afternoon for Bedford Athletic as they went down 40-19 at home to Rochford Hundred.

To put the result in perspective Rochford Hundred had won their last 50 league games with a bonus point to boot as the club storms up the leagues and their 51st match was to prove no different as they go in search of higher honours.

Bedford Athletic scored the first points of the afternoon with a Leo Mortimer penalty in the second minute but thereafter it was the visitors who were on the attack. They turned down several kickable penalty opportunities as they pressed for the opening try but never made the chances stick as their own errors and the stern home defence kept the Bedford Athletic try line intact. An indisciplined home lineout didn’t help matters … meaning that Rochford were able to earn territory and possession and this pressure finally paid off in the 26th minute when scrambling defence saw a yellow card issued to Robbie Locke for killing the ball reducing the home side to 14 men. Athletic were asleep as a quick penalty as taken from the restart and the ball was spread wide to outside centre Damien Brambley and he went over from the opening try. The home response was good and they earned a scrum penalty from which Mortimer was able to restore a 6-5 lead. A further quick tap penalty was again to prove Bedford Athletics’ undoing as Rochford once more attacked at pace and although this time it took them several phases, eventually the ball was worked to wing Norbertas Radzevicius who crossed for the second try of the day, fly half Cameron Greenhall converting for a 12-6 lead. Bedford Athletic stayed in the game and pressure of their own secured their own penalty chances. Mortimer kicked a third penalty from the half way line to narrow the gap and although the home side appeared to miss a trick when they took a tap penalty on the stroke of half time a further penalty was awarded and Mortimer slotted his fourth kick to make it 12-12 at half time.

A poor refereeing decision at the start of the second half saw Rochford awarded a penalty and they exploited the resultant lineout to charge through the home defence and set up a try for Aston Bevans-Royston. Greenhall’s conversion extended the lead to 7 points. The game then settled into a recurrent pattern with Bedford Athletic struggling to win their own lineout ball, Rochford building pressure, Athletic defending heroically but not managing to find anyway to impose their own game on their visitors. The Rochford pressure paid off in the 59th minute when an overthrown lineout from the home side once more set the visitors on the attack and they eventually worked the ball for replacement Babajide Tunde to cross for the bonus point try, Rochford’s 51st in a row over three seasons with Greenhall’s conversion making the score 26-12. Earning a scrum penalty from the restart Bedford Athletic were finally able to launch an attack of their own and this time when they piled on the pressure in the visitors 22 they were rewarded. Hard yards were made by Steve Smith and Josh McCann before quick ruck ball allowed Smith to glide through the visiting defence for Bedford Athletic’s only try of the game, Mortimer adding the conversion. Any Bedford Athletic come back was soon snuffed out and even though a dangerous charge into the ruck by Bevans-Royston saw him earn a yellow card, Rochford scored twice more in the space of three minutes. A series of pick and goes close to the Bedford Athletic line saw visiting no.7 Harry Hudson score and from the restart Rochford were able to glide through the Bedford Athletic defence with Brambley getting his second try of the day. Bedford Athletic’s only real period of pressure came at the end of the match. Even though they had a series of phases and several penalties they still were not accurate enough to force a consolation try.

Bottom of the table and without a point to their name this season, Bedford Athletic will need to earn a change of fortune when they host Sidcup this Saturday with a 3pm kick off at Putnoe Wood.