A strong performance from Bedford Athletic saw them overcome a spirited Peterborough side by 32 points to 15.
Although the home team were in the lead throughout they never quite shook off their visitors but they kept their composure and by the end had done enough to earn a bonus point victory.
A slew of penalties began the game as both sides tried to come to terms with the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown and in the end it was Bedford Athletic that profited with Leo Mortimer slotting his first penalty kick on 9 minutes. A scrum penalty then allowed the home side to kick for territory and with Steve Smith and Jake Foster menacing in attack they did enough to force Peterborough into a goal line drop out. This was collected by Harry Sawford-Smith who tore back through the visiting defence eventually setting up the try scoring chance for Ben Thompson. Leo Mortimer converted for a 10-0 lead on 21 minutes. A failure to properly clear the kick off allowed Peterborough a penalty chance which Byron Van Uden converted on 26 minutes. Bedford Athletic were achieving set piece dominance though and another scrum penalty set up the line out drive from which Smith and Foster combined to put Lewis Sharp over in the corner. Mortimer’s conversion made it 17-3 on the half hour mark. A sterling defensive performance then held Peterborough at bay as they took several quick tap penalties but a turnover under their own posts and another scrum penalty saw Athletic clear their lines and they finished the half with another penalty chance that drifted just wide.
Peterborough kicked off at the start of the second half and quickly dominated territory. Three times the home side effected clearances only for errors or ill discipline to see them pinned back again. It took a fourth clearance attempt for Bedford Athletic to reach opposition territory. Then Lewis Sharp stole a lineout. A penalty was kicked to the corner and the lineout drive went over the line for Erran Singh-Soomal to touch down. Peterborough still showed plenty of threat in attack and they soon had the home side under pressure again. A string of penalties eventually saw both Regan Marshall and Sharp dispatched to the sin bin and the thirteen men could not hold out with the ball spread wide for wing Charles Jacobs to score on the hour mark. Not long afterwards Sam Crooks of Peterborough joined the sin bin brigade and Mortimer slotted a penalty to build a three try advantage at 25-10. Peterborough continued to play with pace in possession and were rewarded as they spread play across the field for their other wing Nick Langton to touch down with ten minutes remaining. Bedford Athletic were prepared to force the issue and restored to full strength the backs took advantage of a series of forward drives with Stephen Woodhead eventually putting Josh Cassell over in the corner for the bonus point try, Mortimer converting. There was still time for a final Peterborough attack but the home side held firm despite losing captain James Wallace to the sin bin.
Bedford Athletic travel to the other Peterborough outfit on Saturday with the match at Lions kicking off at 2.15pm.