Bedford Athletic brushed aside their Leicestershire opponents from Melton Mowbray in a 95-0 romp.
Despite playing conditions making open rugby difficult, the home side nevertheless mastered them to record a 13 try victory with Harry Sawford-Smith the star with his second try hat trick of the season.
Bedford Athletic opened the scoring in the third minute with a James Mortimer penalty and their early pressure did not end there. A lineout catch and drive powered a full 20 metres to the try line for Nick Thomas to touch down the first try of the day on six minutes. Wave after wave of further home attacks ended only when Mortimer kicked another penalty for a 13-0 lead on 12 minutes. Although Melton Mowbray secured a brief period of possession in response, when the ball was turned over it took just two passes for the home side to get outside the defence and Josh Cassell sped away for the second try of the day. The third arrived a quarter of the way through the match when the visitors tried to run the ball out of defence, were turned over and a great running line from James Wallace saw him score under the posts. On 26 minutes Bedford Athletic had their bonus point as relentless pressure saw them pounding away at the Mowbray line with Ryan Taylor eventually crashing over. Melton Mowbray’s illegal efforts to stop the move did not impress the referee and visiting No.8 Tom Allen was sent to the sin bin. Mortimer’s perfect kicking record continued for a 34-0 lead. He was not successful with the next attempt which arrived on the half hour mark, Melton Mowbray attempting to execute a defensive five metre scrum from which they were comprehensively driven off by the Bedford Athletic front row, captain Rob Watkins touching down at the back of the advancing scrum for the try. He did however convert the final try of the half as Cassell once again out paced the defence to give Bedford Athletic a 46-0 lead at half time.
Melton Mowbray secured the kick off and as a result were able to control territory and possession for a limited period at the start of the second half. Bedford Athletic still frustrated them at key moments as Sven Meiland disrupted possession at the front of the lineout and their scrum were unable to find any purchase against the powerful Bedford Athletic pack. A twenty minute hiatus since the previous score was ended in the 54th minute when forward power set up the position for David Simpson to score his first try of the day. The moment of the day came on the hour mark as first Simpson straightened the running lines through the defence and strong support play from Rob Watkins saw him burst clear and send the full back into no man’s land with an outrageous dummy that brought a try under the posts. Mortimer’s conversion brought the score to 60-0 and disappointingly at this point it has to be said the visitors gave up. It was now kick off, catch, drive, run and score for the home side. The main beneficiary was Sawford-Smith who scored tries in the 63rd, 68th and 71st minutes, Stephen Woodhead who took a break from creating tries for others to score once of his own in the 66th minute and finally David Simpson who scored again in the 75th minute. The relentless punishment from Mortimer didn’t cease either as he converted everything to end the game with 30 points. The home side were penalised from the final restart and so ended the game in defence rather than attack missing the chance to score 100 points but have nevertheless now scored 973 league points this season.
On Friday night the club travel to Luton for a Bedfordshire Cup semi-final and will resume league action with a League/East Midlands Cup double header away to Northampton Old Scouts on Saturday 17th February.