Bedford Swifts 7 Bedford Athletic 61

Bedford Athletic advanced to the semi finals of the Bedfordshire Cup with a 61 points to 7 victory at Bedford Swifts.

In a game in which they were comfortable if not dominant throughout the side ran in nine tries to their opponents one with Leo Mortimer contributing 21 points to the victory.

Bedford Athletic hit the ground running and with scrum half Tom Orton organising affairs at the base of ruck and maul they were either spreading the defence wide or sending forwards around the edge of the contact area looking to make ground. Three early tries were the consequence with Orton himself sniping around the edge of a ruck in the third minute, Ben Thompson charging through the centre of the defence for the second and Lewis Lancaster running direct and hard as he did all match to record the third. Mortimer converted all three for a 21-0 lead on 12 minutes. Once they had possession Swifts began to make some progress but it was hard making headway against a well organised visiting defence. This soon worked against them as when the ball was turned over in the 22nd minute, play was quickly shifted into the wide channels allowing left wing Liam Beaumont to streak away for the first of his hat trick of tries, Mortimer again converting. The host team continued to press, and they were helped in no small measure by an ill-disciplined display particularly at the breakdown which saw Bedford Athletic give away far too many penalties. Ben Beagent eventually received a yellow card for persistent offending. The breakthrough for the home side arose when Bedford Athletic lost possession from a breakout up the middle of the pitch. Recovering the spilt ball Swifts moved the ball to the left wing where Virgil Ferguson broke two tackles before crossing for the try on 32 minutes, Paul Robson converting. Athletic upped the pace and intensity of their play in response with Leo Mortimer scoring and converting his own try, but Swifts pressure before the break should have resulted in another score, eventually they knocked on their own lineout catch and drive.

Leading 35-7 at the break, Bedford Athletic dominated all aspects of play after half time but for all their effort could not find a way to fashion a further score. This was thanks in part to stern Swifts defence but also to a propensity to choose the wrong option in attack spurning several overlaps. Paul Anderson was held up over the line, a rolling maul was also held up and Archie Duncan was flattened by a no arms tackle that saw him leave the field. On 58 minutes Bedford Swifts appeared to have cleared the danger but a lineout to Athletic just inside their half saw the ball spread wide to Eugene Holmes who beat his man and the covering defender to score, the try for once was not converted by Mortimer. Once the defence was breached Bedford Athletic seemed to relax and with greater patience their defence and attack clicked into gear. A chip over the defence by replacement scrum half Robbie Locke put Beaumont in the clear for his second try of the day, an interception by James Wallace took the side past the 50 point mark and with what turned out to be the final play of the day Beaumont was once more put in the clear to finish under the posts for his hat trick try with Mortimer converting all of the final three scores.

Bedford Athletic now advance to meet Stockwood Park in the semi finals in the New Year and following a Christmas break the first XV will return to action at home to league leaders Wimbledon on 5th January at Putnoe Wood.