Bedford Athletic suffered a resounding defeat at home to fellow strugglers Tring by 38 points to 24.
They never recovered from conceding three early tries and despite a lot of energy and effort a high penalty count kept them on the back foot as too many errors prevented them from getting back into the game.
Bedford Athletic were punished for their first error of the day, a dropped ball in attack which saw Tring break in response, and from a lineout penalty close to the home line second row Ian Jarman broke from the maul to touch down for the first try on 4 minutes, Jake Olley successfully converting this and every other try the visitors scored. Further penalties kept the home side pinned back and when a clearance kick went directly out of play, Tring were able to drive to the line and with Nick Thomas in the sin bin, drive over and secure their second try of the day on 14 minutes. The third arrived three minutes later. The restart was kicked straight out and from the next Tring attack fly half Ben Criddle weaved through the home defence to touch down for a 21-0 lead. A further charge down might have led to another Tring score but instead it was Bedford Athletic who responded before half time. A chip over the top by Mike Trigg from an attacking ruck saw Josh Cassell win the foot race to touch down the first try on 25 minutes. Bedford Athletic kept the pressure on, finally playing some fluent attacking rugby and from an attacking line out they sucked in the Tring defence before spinning the ball wide for Charlie Darlow to score in the corner on 32 minutes. Leo Mortimer converted both tries so that the side trailed 21-14 at half time.
The start of the second half saw Bedford Athletic try and run the ball from defence giving an early turnover to the visiting side. Olley kicked a penalty to stretch the visitor’s lead to 24-14 on 43 minutes. Bedford Athletic did find an attacking response and several drives by the forwards led by captain Rob Watkins set up the opportunity for prop Freddie Boyce to dive over for the third try which went unconverted. Penalties continued to be the bane of the home side’s efforts and allowed further attacking opportunities in the home 22. The pressure told again in the 56th minute as scrum half Richard Beeny sniped around a ruck and touched down under the posts. A home comeback might have been on the cards in the 62nd minute when Darlow returned a clearance kick with a powerful run and shipped the scoring pass on to Cassell for his second try of the day. This was again unconverted making the score now 31-24. Bedford Athletics’ final efforts to draw level faded when a deep clearance kick took play into the home 22 and even though they had the scrum the ball escaped at the back for Beeny to pick up and score. With five minutes left there was no way back and a try bonus point was all Bedford Athletic had to show from the match.
Following the break for Christmas, Bedford Athletic will have two away matches in a row when they travel to Rochford Hundred and Sidcup on the first two Saturdays in January.