Bedford Athletic worked hard for a 56-0 home win against Northampton Old Scouts.
In a match in which the home side dominated the scoreline, their visitors had periods of resistance which kept the margin of victory to eight tries when at times it threatened to be more.
Bedford Athletic kicked a penalty through James Mortimer in the third minute when their scrummage pushed Old Scouts off their own ball. They maintained their early dominance with a trade mark try in the eighth minute, David Simpson straightening his running line to create space out wide for Josh Cassell to score. Mortimer slotted the conversion for a 10-0 lead. Bedford Athletic were by now already in the ascendancy at the set piece but were unprepared for the amount of turnover ball they kept winning with a number of moves breaking down through errors and misplaced passes. With Old Scouts constantly on the defensive the penalties soon began to mount and Mortimer uncharacteristically missed one from in front of the posts in the 18th minute. He made amends three minutes later for a 13-0 lead. Conceding a penalty from the kick off the home side, Bedford Athletic allowed their visitors to set up their best period of the game. Twice they had five metre lineouts on Athletics’ line but first Rob Watkins and then Ben Middleton rose highest to thwart the visitors attack. When on the third occasion Old Scouts overthrew an attacking lineout, Andy Ince was on hand to burst away and lead the forwards charge into the heart of the Northampton sides defence. The backs then took over as the ball was spread wide for Stephen Woodhead to touch down in the right hand corner, Mortimer converting for a 20-0 lead. As the match headed to halftime, Bedford Athletic were once more on the attack, a series of drives being halted illegally and eventually one offside too many saw prop Ross Vernel sent to the sin bin. From the scrum Andy Ince picked up and scored under the posts, Mortimer’s conversion making it 27-0 at half time.
Northampton Old Scouts didn’t touch the ball for the first eight minutes of the second half by which time they were a further two tries behind. The first came from a long period of phase play which eventually saw Harry Sawford Smith in space and able to ignore the overlap on his right for the try. The second was all about forward pressure as wave after wave of attack crashed against the Old Scouts line with John Clarke the final beneficiary on this occasion. The floodgates never really opened thereafter as the home side pursued a far more direct and destructive style than in recent games. As a result the forward pack’s power was often to the forefront of everything Bedford Athletic created whether in the set piece or loose play. Josh McCann’s try on 58 minutes was a result of constant forward pressure and Ben Middleton’s try on 61 minutes was just reward for a disruptive and dominant display in the close exchanges all afternoon. James Mortimer kicked three conversions in the second half and although Old Scouts did have one attack worthy of note in that period it was ended by a thumping tackle from Andy Ince. The final try came following constant battering at the visitor’s line and once the forwards had sucked in the defence, Josh Cassell was on hand on the left wing to score the final try of the day.
Bedford Athletic travel next to the other Northampton side in the league when they visit Old Northamptonians on Saturday, kick offs reverting to 2.15pm for the winter months.