Another defeat on the road for Bedford Athletic as they went down by 19 points to 14 at Brighton.
The team were competitive throughout but in the end lacked the necessary composure and accuracy to turn a narrow defeat into victory.
Bedford Athletic were first to score on eight minutes when Steve Smith broke through the Brighton defence from a set scrummage and touched down for the opening try, Leo Mortimer converting. Brighton responded in the same manner they did all afternoon by reverting to their forwards. A lineout catch and drive was rumbled 30 yards before being held up over the visitor’s line. From the resulting scrum a kick over the top of the defence was chased and touched down by full back Max Morris for the try converted by David McIlwhaine to tie the scores. Play ebbed and flowed in midfield for a while so it was disappointing that it was once again poor Bedford Athletic discipline that handed the advantage to their hosts on the half hour mark. No.7 Will Hoare broke the line and when Athletic were penalised for not releasing in the tackle the penalty was kicked to the corner and the visitors did well to hold the driving maul up over the line. Another penalty ensued but this time Brighton knocked the ball on and from the scrum it was Bedford Athletic who won the penalty to clear their lines. Further indiscipline allowed Brighton back into the visiting 22 but this time a lineout steal by Harry Charter was key in averting the danger and keeping the scores tied at 7-7 at half time.
Bedford Athletic scored first in the second half as well. The move was initiated through a strong run by Smith deep into the Brighton half, the forwards recycled the ball through several phases, Harry Sawford-Smith broke the line again and scrum half Michael Trigg was able to snipe over from a ruck for the try, Mortimer’s conversion making it 14-7 on 43 minutes. Brighton again responded with a lineout catch and drive the maul travelling 22 yards before hooker Tom Hatch touched down over the Athletic line, McIlwhaine’s conversion making it 14-all. From further penalties Brighton threatened to repeat the dose but Bedford Athletic relieved the pressure. Just before the hour mark they had chances of their own but with penalties close to the Brighton line they lost both lineout throws and the chance had been missed. Brighton regained the momentum and on 64 minutes Nick Thomas was sin binned for side entry at a maul. This gave the hosts another chance to press the try line and after a series of rucks they found the space afforded by the extra man to send Jesse Beecham over for the try. Bedford Athletic looked to respond to get back into the game but a series of attacking rucks ended with a knock on and Brighton cleared the danger. In the final minutes Bedford Athletic were forced to run the ball from their own 22 to try and get a score but again the ball was spilt in contact and the visitors ended the game on the defensive.
The losing bonus point is the first league point earned in this calendar year and the side are now 6 points from safety with 6 matches left to play. This makes home wins imperative and the next home game sees Hertford at Putnoe Wood this Saturday with a 3.00pm kick off.