Bedford Athletic recorded a convincing if uninspiring victory by 29 points to 13 away to Leighton Buzzard.
In a match which remained scoreless in the second half, Bedford Athletic had achieved the try bonus point by half time following which neither team threatened the scoreboard further!
Having kicked off up the hill, Bedford Athletic scored in the second minute when an early lineout win allowed fly half James Mortimer time to pin point a cross field kick to Andy Ince who had space to charge over from 20 yards out on the right wing. Mortimer slotted the conversion. Leighton Buzzard also scored from their first attack, exploiting a dog leg in the visiting defensive line with Euan Irwin able to release full back Ben Beaumont for the score. The conversion was missed and the visitors returned to the attack. A rolling maul was held up over the line, and when the home scrummage was shunted backward, Bedford Athletic were able to exploit the turnover in possession to allow Stephen Woodhead through the defence for his first try of the day. Mortimer converted again for a 14-5 lead on 16 minutes. Strangely a degree of indecision then creeped into the Bedford Athletic game and this allowed Leighton Buzzard to gain territory and ultimately a lineout close to the visitor’s line. A well worked backs move saw space on the left wing for Ben Beaumont to run round the defence and over for Buzzard’s and his second try. The conversion was again missed and Bedford Athletic led 14-10 on 25 minutes. This became 19-10 three minutes later when Woodhead was again put into space on the right wing and finished with aplomb in the corner. 19-10 became 22-10 when Mortimer slotted a long distance penalty on 33 minutes, but almost immediately from the restart Bedford Athletic coughed up a penalty of their own to allow Darren Braybrook to reduce the lead to 22-13. Bedford Athletic finished the half strongly with several penalties kicked into the corner and a couple of driving mauls seeing Tom Rees touch down for his first try for the first XV, Mortimer’s conversion making it 29-13 at half time.
Bedford Athletic dropped and knocked the ball on at the start of the second half and this set the theme for the entire forty minutes. Leighton Buzzard established a territorial stranglehold but thanks to dogged and aggressive defence were unable to fashion any scoring chances. Bedford Athletics’ set piece remained strong and their defence cut down time and space for the home attack. With the visiting back line struggling to make an impression on the match the forward pack led by captain Rob Watkins and vice-captain Nick Thomas thwarted most of the home side’s opportunities. On the rare occasion that Bedford Athletic did get into the home 22, they did disrupt a defensive scrum and force Leighton Buzzard to touch down behind their own line but a couple of offside penalty decisions against them soon had the visitors in retreat. Nevertheless they continued to absorb everything that the home side threw at them and whilst they created no opportunities of their own, neither did they allow any against them, the result being stalemate.
Unbeaten in their first five league matches, Bedford Athletic now begin their East Midlands Cup campaign away to Oundle in the quarter final this Saturday.