Guildford 29 Bedford Athletic 8

Bedford Athletic lost a crucial relegation encounter 29-8 away to bottom of the table Guildford.

With just one try and very little threat the defeat was as painful as it became predictable.

A frantic start to the match in the first ten minutes failed to produce any notable action other than a head injury to the Guildford no.6 Oli Millward who had to be replaced and a missed penalty for the hosts. From the restart the Guildford no.8 Joe Garner was able to slip any number of tackles and carry play to in front of the posts where a ruck penalty was this time kicked by Ieuan Jones for the lead. A stream of penalties was giving the visitors plenty of possession but a succession of errors meant they could do little with it and Guildford scored the first try when a series of defensive lapses left a gap at a ruck which second row Harrison Phillips charged through for the opening try, Jones converting on 21 minutes. A high tackle from the kick off led to a penalty response for Leo Mortimer and a sin binning for prop Matt Poole but Bedford Athletic immediately infringed themselves from the following kick off, although this time Jones’ kick went wide. The visitors finally started to create some half chances toward the end of the half although they had by now lost Nick Thomas to injury. These chances failed to bear fruit due to individual errors, indiscipline and at the end of the half a missed overlap with the ball instead being lost in a scramble for the line. Guildford led 10-3 at half time.

Guildford attacked from the start of the second half and soon Jake Foster was off the field injured as well. A defensive line out was lost, Guildford won a penalty and then drove the maul from their lineout over the line for a try to prop Poole. On 50 minutes Josh McCann was sin binned for a dangerous tackle, Guildford pressed deep in the visitor’s half and from a scrum spread the ball wide finding the space with the extra man for wing Joe Wigmore to cross despite the best efforts of Stephen Woodhead. With Jones’ conversion Guildford led 22-3 and minutes later they had their bonus point try when Mortimer threw an interception pass gratefully plucked out of the air by centre Christian King and converted by Jones. In the final quarter Bedford Athletic tried hard with ball in hand but with little real impact in the danger areas of the pitch, the exception being in the 69th minute when Archie Simmons escaped down the left hand touchline for his first try for the side. A bad day was completed with a head injury to Stephen Woodhead in the final minutes.

Bedford Athletic are now firmly entrenched in the relegation zone, seven points from safety and home wins are a must starting with the visit of Dorking to Putnoe Wood on Saturday kick off 3.00pm.