Bedford Athletic regained the Bedfordshire Cup with a 27-10 victory at Dunstablians.
The match was a triumph for a team largely made up of the Warriors side that has won back to back league titles in the East Midlands merit tables.
The team started at a pace their hosts appeared unused to and a fine arcing outside break from fly half James Hawken set up wing Archie Duncan for the opening try on 3 minutes. The lead was doubled in the 15th minute when from a lineout catch and drive captain Jay Bolton burrowed over as Bedford Athletic led 10-0 following the first quarter. Thereafter their play deteriorated sharply and a series of unnecessary forward passes allowed Dunstablians territory and eventually fly half John White kicked a penalty to narrow the gap to 10-3. Worse was to follow when the kick off failed to travel ten metres and Dunstablians took full advantage of their visitor’s profligacy to drive to their line. Following a series of phases it was White who put centre Kevin Boland into a gap for a try on the half hour mark. White converted to tie the match at 10-all and it took a Hawken penalty before half time to restore the lead for Bedford Athletic, White missing one in response for Dunstablians on the stroke of half time.
The first twenty minutes of the second half were a drab affair with neither side retaining clear cut possession, and neither team creating anything in the way of chances. Once a series of substitutions to the Bedford Athletic side settled down it was they who began to finish the match as the stronger team. A penalty led to a 5 metre lineout catch and drive and although this was held up over the line the scrum that followed allowed Hawken to run hard at the defence and when the ball was recycled it came back to the right wing where Liam Walsh dived over for the try. Hawken converted from the touchline and a 20-10 lead. The final ten minutes saw Bedford Athletic dominate territory and eventually a clearance kick that didn’t find touch was run back hard at the home defence, firstly through the speed of Duncan and finally through Harry Sawford-Smith who crossed for the fourth and final try. Hawken’s conversion with the last kick of the game eased Bedford Athletic to a 27-10 victory.
With some silverware to show for the season’s efforts, Bedford Athletic will complete their league campaign at home to Towcestrians on Saturday before taking on Peterborough Lions in the East Midlands Cup Final at Goldington Road on Wednesday with a 7.30pm kick off.