Bedford Athletic 46 Fakenham 24

Bedford Athletic secured another home victory by 46 points to 24 against Fakenham. The match was a keen contest throughout with the home side pulling clear in the final stages for what was eventually a comfortable win.

The match got off to a frantic start and the home side were the ultimate beneficiaries with an end to end opening seeing Tom Bailey crash over for the opening try on 6 minutes, his front row colleague Richie Ellingham converting. Bedford Athletic maintained their opening pressure forcing their visitors back and a deft kick through forced a goal line drop out. Captain Lewis Lancaster led the charge back when possession was regained and the move ended with Ellingham scoring the second try on ten minutes and adding the conversion. The opening Fakenham score came as a result of another Bedford Athletic attack breaking down and the loose ball was gathered, the home side dropped off several tackles and visiting fly half Thomas Bane-Young was able to put his winger Ashley Stewart in the clear to run in Fakenham’s opening try which Bane-Young converted. The Bedford Athletic response was immediate with a swift interpassing move breaching the away defence and once the home attack was able to stretch play across the pitch, it was outside centre Jack Darlow who found the gap for the first of his three tries. Bane-Young kicked a penalty in response to make the score 19-10 and thereafter the game entered a soporific period with little in the way of meaningful attack from either side, an uncertain refereeing performance with all around errors dominating. Fakenham made most of the territory once they started to dominate possession. Good goal line defence with several mauls held up stifled their attacking opportunities and the scrum led from tighthead by Robbie Taylor gave the home side a strong defensive platform. In the end it was Bedford Athletic who scored again before the break with Ellingham kicking a penalty.

A poor start to the second half saw Bedford Athletic mess up a passing move in their own half, Fakenham pounced and fly half Bane-Young chipped ahead, gathered his own kick and then scored by the posts, an effort he himself converted to narrow the gap to 22-17. The home side made progress up the right wing in response and once they won a scrum the nudge forward they obtained pushed the defence back in midfield for Kieran Deans to have time to crash through for the bonus point try, Ellingham converting. Four minutes later the side produced a moment of quality when scrum half Tom Orton broke from a scrum and set in motion a swift passing movement that finished with Darlow scoring his second try in the right hand corner in the 53rd minute. Again Fakenham responded with Bane-Young initiating a break and linking with both full back Murray Tindal and outside centre Charlie Fish for Fish to score. With his conversion making the score 34-24 the game was in the balance for long periods before the home side’s greater speed and fitness began to tell. It was Darlow who took on and sprinted past the visitors defence from deep for the sixth try on 66 minutes and Rob Watkins who completed the scoring as Orton set him up to break through a ruck after a strong Robbie Taylor run. Ellingham converted to complete the scoring and the game then descended into a morass of impenetrable refereeing decisions to reach a much anticipated end.

The win preserves the second team’s unbeaten home record and keeps them in third place in the league four points behind rivals Newmarket who occupy the second promotion position. The second’s next match is in two weeks away to bottom club Cottenham Renegades.