Bedford Athletic 30 Broadstreet 31

A tremendous comeback was just not enough as Bedford Athletic lost by a point 31-30 at home to Broadstreet.

Trailing 31-11 with a quarter of the match remaining the hosts looked odds on to finish with nothing but a stirring finish nearly earned them all the points instead of the two bonus points they eventually obtained.

A cheap penalty from the kick off gave Broadstreet early possession and a couple of line out catch and drives and accompanying driving mauls later, prop Harry Pendleton touched down for the opening try on 3 minutes, converted by Lee Chapman. Within two minutes Bedford Athletic had fashioned a response as Steve Smith made a break, and despite an attempted block from an offside position, David Simpson raced away to open the scoring for the home side. The try went unconverted and failure to secure possession from the kick off let Broadstreet dominate the next period of the game, Chapman eventually kicking a penalty on 8 minutes. Worse was to follow three minutes later as Athletic allowed a cross field kick to bounce, Broadstreet regained possession and a further cross kick from Chapman saw the visitors exploit superior numbers down the right wing with second row Ash Illston crossing for the try. Chapman’s conversion gave Broadstreet an early 17-5 lead. In response Smith kicked penalties in the 14th and 26th minutes to make the score 17-11 but when another kick off was lost the home side were destined to spend the remainder of the half under pressure. Initially a sterling defence kept Broadstreet at bay but once No.8 James Wallace was lost to the sin bin, superior numbers began to tell for the visitors. A high tackle offence gave them a penalty in a prominent position in the home 22 and given that Chapman had missed an earlier kick at goal, this time the forwards powered forward with tight head prop John Allison emerging with the score on the stroke of half time, Chapman converting for a 24-11 lead.

Broadstreet made the extra man pay again at the start of the second half as two scrummages were driven forward at pace and No.8 Jack Gibbon touched down with Chapman converting for a twenty point lead. Initially Bedford Athletics’ response was blunted with great line speed in defence and an ability to stop the ball going wide, but as the half wore on Broadstreet began to tire and the attack began to earn greater success. With Robbie Locke and Steve Smith linking well at half back, David Simpson began to find space in midfield and with this momentum twice Bedford Athletic crossed the visitor’s line. On the first occasion they were penalised for crossing and on the second they were deemed to have knocked the ball on when competing for a high ball. With Broadstreet scrum half Nick Thatcher in the sin bin for a deliberate knock on, Bedford Athletic finally scored in the 62nd minute when Josh Cassell crossed following an attacking line out. Four minutes later it was Nick Thomas powering over the visitor’s line with Smith, who was by now running the game, converting to narrow the gap to 31-23. Another Simpson break earned a penalty in the visitor’s 22 and with five minutes to go a series of pick and drives saw prop John Clarke cross for his first try for the club. Smith’s conversion narrowed the gap to a point, however even with five minutes left there were no further chances and Bedford Athletic had to settle for both a try scoring and losing bonus point.

With three bonus points earned in the New Year Bedford Athletic will be looking for a first win when they travel to Derby this Saturday with a 2.15pm kick off.