Guildford 35 Bedford Athletic 29

Missed opportunities cost Bedford Athletic the chance of victory as they went down 35-29 away to Guildford.

Four clear chances were spurned in the second half however the visitors finished the stronger of the sides and secured both try and losing bonus points in the defeat.

Bedford Athletic did not have possession of the ball for the first four minutes of the match by which time they were 3-0 down to a Kyle Brown penalty. They did score the first try when a strong burst through the centre of the park by prop Freddie Boyce saw the side in a position to spread the ball wide for a Steve Smith grubber kick to allow Stephen Woodhead to score in the corner on 7 minutes with Leo Mortimer converting. Minutes later the visitors sent a rolling maul rumbling toward the home line but it somehow collapsed when it got there and no further scoring opportunity accrued. Guildford took until the 18th minute to score their first try when a series of forward drives opened up space for left wing Thomas Hothersall to cruise over with Brown converting. On the half hour a series of poor passes across the visiting backline ended with the ball falling for Guildford right wing Thomas Jeffrey to pounce and score and although the try was not converted Brown did kick a penalty on 37 minutes to extend the lead to 18-7. Crucially Bedford Athletic got a foothold back in the game on the stroke of half time with a Mortimer penalty making it 18-10 at the interval.

The first play of the second half saw Steve Smith and David Simpson punch through the home defence and only a despairing final tackle and the ability to prevent Bedford Athletic moving the ball quickly enough away from the final breakdown stopped a certain visiting try. Instead it was Guildford who scored first in the second half with their favourite move, the lineout drive and maul gaining them ground against the visiting defence and allowing replacement Colum Jordan through to score under the posts, Brown converting. Two yellow cards followed, Guildford’s No.8 Joe Garner sin binned for a spear tackle and Athletics’ Nick Thomas for persistant offside and Brown consolidated the home lead with a further penalty on 56 minutes. The visitors finally started to get some continuity going in their game and when they ran through the phases they stretched the home defence and created space for Woodhead to cross again in the right corner and touch down under the posts with Mortimer making the score 28-17. Indiscipline was costing Bedford Athletic and further penalties saw them pressed into their own 22 and Guildford got their fourth try when Nick Brown touched down by the posts, his brother extending the lead to 35-17 on 58 minutes. From then on Bedford Athletic dominated the game. Two further try scoring chances went begging when James Yates burst through and Ben Middleton couldn’t take the pass with the line at his mercy and Stephen Woodhead declined a massive overlap with only the last defender to beat. The third try came in the 75th minute but it was a more muscular affair – a series of carries ending with Andy Ince crossing the line but with no conversion. There was time for Michael Trigg to break the line only for Woodhead to fail to take the scoring pass before Guildford kicked a penalty deep into the visiting 22. Bedford Athletic turned the ball over on their goal line and then launched the final move of the match from their own dead ball area. A couple of penalties later and they had a final lineout catch and drive of their own with replacement scrumhalf Trigg twisting over the line at the death for the fourth and bonus point try. Leo Mortimer then had a conversion for the losing bonus point which he successfully kicked for a two point haul to the visiting side.

Bedford Athletic reach the halfway point in the season with a home match against Brentwood on Saturday kicking off at 2.00pm.