Bedford Athletic 22 Chingford 29

A second half resurgence was not enough for Bedford Athletic as they went down 29-22 at home to Chingford.

The damage was done in a first half in which they struggled for both possession and subsequently territory and trailed 21-7 at half time.

Bedford Athletic did make a bright start, Steve Smith spotting and racing through an early gap and then kicking ahead for Josh Cassell to win the race for the first try on four minutes, Leo Mortimer converting. Chingford soon began to dominate possession as they sent phase after phase of attacks against the home defence. Eventually Cassell was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on a scoring pass on eleven minutes and he was sin binned with Chingford awarded a penalty try to level matters. The hosts did not survive being a man down and conceded another try on sixteen minutes, once again a series of drives into their defence leading to a score for scrum half Cameron Meakin, his brother Scott Meakin converting. Any fluency that Bedford Athletic tried to bring into their game was disrupted by a seriously malfunctioning lineout and as result their time in possession was limited. What little they did win was often in defensive positions and kicked back to Chingford encouraging yet a further wave of attacks. Nevertheless the defence did well to hold out but a series of penalties right on half time proved too much for them with full back Connor Reynolds the beneficiary, scoring in the corner and Meakin converting from the touch line. Having had hardly any ball to play with Bedford Athletic trailed 21-7 at half time.

The second half began in similar fashion as the hosts failed to contest the restart allowing Chingford an opportunity to once again set up camp in their half. This ended with a penalty from Meakin stretching the lead to 24-7 on 47 minutes. Bedford Athletic began to rally and started to string more than a couple of phases together. When they won their first clean lineout on 53 minutes it immediately led to a try with Jake Foster on his 50th appearance for the side bursting through the defence for a try by the posts that Leo Mortimer converted. Suddenly the hosts were making a contest of the occasion. A series of probing attacks were halted only with a head high tackle from fly half Meakin that the referee immediately stopped play for only to then award no further sanction than the penalty that Mortimer slotted to make the score 24-17 on 59 minutes. Immediately the home side had a third try when Smith cleverly kicked over the defence, collected the ball and set Foster clear for his second try of the day. At 24-22 down Bedford Athletic had everything to play for but the lineout continued to malfunction and although the scrum went well, possession was always uncertain. Chingford were able to turn the screw late in the game for winger James Herbert to cross in the corner. The conversion was missed and two late Bedford Athletic attacks were halted illegally with both Luke Stack and Babajide Tunde being sin binned but all the hosts were left with was a losing bonus point.

Bedford Athletic travel to Dorking next week on a five game losing streak that they have the ability to end with a more consistent performance over an eighty minute period.