Bedford Athletic eased into the next round of the Bombardier East Midlands Cup with a 52-7 quarter final win at home to Oundle.
With home advantage they were just too strong against their opponents from the league below running in 8 tries in total.
It was also a day of records for the club. The win was the first XV’s 1,500th victory since the formation of the club in 1908 and the hat trick run in by left winger Josh Cassell ensured that he reached the milestone target of 100 tries in his first 100 appearances for the first team.
It took a while for the home side to get on the scoresheet with the only try of the first quarter being dotted down by Steve Smith and converted by Leo Mortimer for a 7-0 lead. However once the second try went in on 22 minutes the early resistance from the visitors began to crumble with Stephen Woodhead the scorer on this occasion. Harry Sawford-Smith was over next on 27 minutes, Mortimer successful with the conversion this time to stretch the lead to 19-0, before Cassell began his scoring act with two tries before half time, Mortimer converting both for a 33-0 half time lead.
The game was settled as a contest at this stage and Bedford Athletic were able to give their full bench a run out which also saw a welcome return to action for first XV captain Rob Watkins. Three further tries were scored in this second period. On 48 minutes it was Stephen Woodhead who secured his second score of the afternoon before Harry Sawford-Smith followed him over for his second just three minutes later. The last significant action of the day for the home side fell to Cassell who ran in his hat trick try on the hour mark and having started the day with 97 tries in 99 appearances this proved to be the icing on the cake in reaching 100 tries in 100 appearances in his 6th season with the club. Leo Mortimer had earlier added two further conversions giving him six in total for the game. Strangely the final score fell to Oundle with Saad Sait crossing for a try that was converted by Will Carrington, but this did little to stop Bedford Athletics’ advance to the semi finals of a competition that they have won for the last two years in a row.
The win is a timely boost to results after the side has been close to winning but not victorious in recent league matches. Bedford Athletic will want to take this form and convert those bonus points into victories this Saturday when they entertain London Irish Wild Geese at Putnoe Wood with the match using the floodlights on the artificial grass pitch and kicking off at 3pm.