A hard fought contest went the way of Bedford Athletic 2s as they triumphed by 34 points to 17 against Woodbridge. In a meeting of two of the top four sides in the table, it was Bedford Athletic who maintained their promotion push with a bonus point victory.
Bedford Athletic started the encounter the better side but struggled to make their pressure tell on the scoreboard. Strong carries from the forwards led by Ryley and Brodie Longmuir and Erran Singh-Soomal had the team on the front foot but they were continuously denied in the final five metres, sometimes by strong defence and sometimes by their own errors, and finally by the referee who disallowed an opening score for crossing. It took until a series of scrums five metres from the visitor’s line for the team to open the scoring, scrum half Tana Stenson eventually sniping over for the first of his three tries. Woodbridge had an immediate response and from a penalty, a cross field kick was secured by full back Jake Hateley and he levelled up the scores. The home side soon returned to the attack and when they were once again presented with an attacking five metre scrum they chose on this occasion to move the ball through the backs, full back Kieran Farrer attacking the line and scoring to the left of the posts on the half hour mark. Woodbridge had a further period of possession and territory but this was snuffed out when they lost the ball in front of the home side’s posts and it was Bedford Athletic who were to score again before the half was out. James Wallace stole a lineout and although several strong carries ended with the ball being lost over the line, when the home side won the ball back, they again sent the play wide for Ben Wright to crash over on the right wing for their third try. Bedford Athletic led 15-5 at half time.
The home side had much the better of the third quarter, starting with a fine run from Jack Darlow who straightened the line and got behind the visiting defence, releasing the ball in the final tackle to scrum half Stenson who strolled in under the posts, Lewis Lancaster converting. At this stage Bedford Athletic were faster to the breakdown, in control of the tackle area and muscling their opponents off the ball. This led to two further tries for Liam Walpole and a hat trick try for Tana Stenson which together with a further Lancaster conversion stretched the lead to 34-5 on the hour mark. This gap was just as well as Woodbridge launched a stirring fightback in the final 20 minutes which Bedford Athletic did well to resist, showing just how beneficial league rugby is for the players at this level. Strong commitment in defencekept Woodbridge at bay, typified when full back Kieran Farrer chased back 50 yards to haul down wing Simon Plummer to stop a certain try from an intercept. Unfortunately the home side were becoming increasingly penalty prone and this led to mounting pressure and an eventual try to hooker Luca D’Angelo. Under pressure again from the kick off, Bedford Athletic lost Stenson to the sin bin for repeated offences and this led to a third try for Lewis Jacobs. However the continued sterling work in defence from the 14 that remained on the field meant that there was no fourth and bonus point try for the visitors.
The win maintains the side’s unbeaten home record this season and keeps them in the second promotion place in the table ahead of next week’s trip to league leaders Colchester 2s.