Bedford Athletic 81 Peterborough Lions 19

Bedford Athletic hammered Peterborough Lions by 81 points to 19.

The champions of Midlands One East dominated their visitors to record their biggest win of the season.

The first score came five minutes into the encounter as following a lineout catch and drive by the forwards, inside centre Felix Mallalieu slipped through a gap to cross by the posts for the opening try. From the kick-off, the home side spun the ball to the left wing where Josh Cassell beat his man and then set off from 70 yards to score the second try of the day.

The next kick-off saw Lions flanker Chris Diamond sin-binned for taking his opponent out in the air. Bedford Athletic pressed forward and with penalties giving them field position, the forwards rumbled over with Ben Thompson touching down for the third try.

The bonus point try arrived inside the first 20 minutes as a quick tap penalty saw the Lions defence breached yet again for a try to replacement back row Adam Harris. Finally Lions won a penalty and some possession on their hosts 22. A kick to touch and a lineout catch and drive gave them momentum at close range and prop forward Callum Jakes touched down.

The next Bedford Athletic attack saw the ball go to ground and Lions picked up and sped the length of the field with the ball eventually transferred to wing Filikitonga for Lions’ second try. Will Carrington’s conversion narrowed the gap to 24-12 but the home side were soon back in control. Another penetrating attack saw Archie Duncan speed away down the right wing, shortly after he just lost out in a foot race to the line following a clever kick through, once again shrugging off would be tacklers for the fifth try. Ben Middleton on the occasion of his 250th appearance for the first XV also did damage down the right wing moments later but he was hauled down just short of the line with Lewis Sharp finishing the move off for the sixth try. Cassell then intercepted a rare visiting passing move to once again go 70 yards for the seventh try and on the stroke of half time Mallalieu broke through yet again to put full back Stephen Woodhead away for the eighth try. Leo Mortimer added five conversions throughout the first half so that

Bedford Athletic had brought up 50 points by half time in a 50-19 lead.

The third quarter was a stop-start affair. Peterborough Lions had the first penalty and a kick to touch in the corner brought a repeat of the close range drives of the first half and a third try, this time to Diamond, Carrington converting. Bedford Athletic scored again from first phase following a reset scrum as Harry Sawford-Smith powered through a gap for a try on his 100th appearance for the first XV. But overall it was a period without pattern, not helped by two penalties that missed touch for the home side. It took the hour mark to pass before they reasserted themselves. A flowing move saw Ben Thompson make hard yards down the left before the ball was switched to the other side of the field where Sharp found space for his second try. The incisive running and overall vision of Mallalieu was then rewarded with two quick tries to bring up his hat-trick. The first from a clean break through the visiting defence and the second straight from the resulting kick-off following the initial charge from captain James Wallace.

Peterborough Lions never looked like they would challenge for a fourth and bonus point try, largely due to their own ill-discipline combined with an impressively disciplined display from their hosts which denied Lions the close-range chances they seemed to need to score. Eventually, it was the hosts who had the final say. Lions were penalised for a deliberate knock on in defence and from the penalty it was prop Ryan Taylor who burrowed over for the 13th try, three further conversions from Mortimer taking him to 16 points on the day.

Following a week’s break Bedford Athletic complete their home league programme against Towcestrians on Saturday 9th April looking for another unbeaten season at home. Kick off is at 3.00pm.