A poor performance from Bedford Athletic saw them slump to a 29 points to 7 defeat at Hertford.
In difficult weather conditions, the visitors never managed to impose themselves on the game and despite plenty of effort they rarely looked like taking anything from the fixture.
Early Hertford pressure brought a penalty kick that Kyle Lemon slid just wide before a Steve Smith break set up a long range penalty chance for Leo Mortimer that fell short. This did allow the visitors to dominate territory and they ground their way into the home 22. This led to several catch and drive chances from lineouts, the first opportunity being unsuccessful due to an accidental offside but when Josh Cassell drove the ball deep into the left hand corner the maul was successful as Erran Singh-Soomal broke away to score his first try for the first XV. Mortimer converted for a 7-0 lead on 13 minutes. Hertford responded and although James Wallace did well to steal an attacking lineout the good work was undone by a needless ruck penalty from Ryan Taylor which gave Hertford a second attacking chance. This they took as hooker Chris Joyce crashed over for the try, converted by Lemon, that tied the scores at 7 points apiece after the first quarter. Bedford Athletic failed to win back possession from the kick off and they were soon under pressure again. Stern defence did see Hertford repelled on several occasions but there was always a penalty or error that allowed them to return to the attack. On 32 minutes they found a way through when a grubber kick from fly half Stuart Smart put wing Charlie Parkhouse in the clear for the second try that Lemon converted. Bedford Athletic did end the half on the attack but lacked guile and inspiration and despite numerous phases, Hertford held out comfortably for a 14-7 half time lead.
If the end of the first half lacked guile and inspiration then the start of the second simply lacked accuracy and intensity. Early errors gave Kyle Lemon another shot at goal on 46 minutes and he kicked the penalty for a 17-7 lead. If Bedford Athletic were now struggling to impact the game at least Hertford were doing no better and the third quarter was an error strewn affair played out in the middle of the pitch. Heading into the final twenty minutes Bedford Athletic started to win territory and appeared to be building momentum. However a penalty for backchat to the referee whilst in possession reversed the flow of the game and suddenly Hertford were able to attack in the visitors 22. From the next lineout Kyle Lemon was able to open up a gap in the visitor’s defence and glide through for a score that he himself converted to settle matters on 68 minutes. Hertford took confidence from this and with Athletic still coughing up the ball they forced a defensive scrum which the visitors lost and with the ball quickly shipped to the opposite wing, Simon Hrbeck was on hand to touch down. This ended the scoring in a second half where Bedford Athletic never created much of a scoring chance and saw the game gradually slip away from them.
The side return to home action with Guernsey the visitors to Putnoe Wood on Saturday with a 2.00pm kick off. Bedford Athletic will need to play with greater threat, accuracy and discipline if they are to get a result against a side sitting in third place in the league.