Market Rasen & Louth 8 Bedford Athletic 62

Bedford Athletic travelled to bottom of the table Market Rasen & Louth and returned with a perfunctory 62-8 victory.

In poor weather conditions the visitors scored ten tries but there was little else to be gleaned from a low quality game.

The early momentum was with the home side and strong direct running from their backline saw them earn an early penalty for a high tackle which was kicked by Chris Everton on 3 minutes. However once Bedford Athletic got their hands on the ball they started to create chances. Tom Rees was the first to break through the home defence and with front foot ball the visiting defence was breached all too easily and when the ball was spread wide Harry Sawford-Smith crossed for the first try of the day. The tight exchanges were always competitive and Bedford Athletics’ superiority came when the ball was worked through the back line, Josh Cassell and Tom Orton linking well for the game’s second try on 16 minutes. This seemed to puncture the home effort and they conceded four further tries in quick succession. Sawford-Smith scored the third following a fine break by Josh McCann, the five pointer taking the team over 1,000 points for the season. The backs then began to capitalise with speed and space, Josh Cassell crossing in the 20th minute and Stephen Woodhead in the 25th, both tries a matter of outpacing the cover defence. The forwards also demonstrated that they were capable of getting on the scoreboard as James Wallace finished off a move in the 28th minute which together with four conversions from James Mortimer pushed the score out to 38-3. However Market Rasen dominated possession for the remainder of the half and Bedford Athletic were reduced to a purely defensive role which they nevertheless carried out with great effect to preserve their lead to half time.

The second half had every excuse to deteriorate into a muddy slugfest but in the end it was a case of the Bedford Athletic rapier outwitting the Market Rasen bludgeon. Two early lineouts were lost and it seemed that the visitors had squandered good field position until Ryan Taylor and Liam Walsh led a charge into the home 22. Once the backs got their hands on the ball play was fed wide to Stephen Woodhead who scored his second try of the day on 45 minutes. His hat trick was complete in the 53rd minute with much of the hard work in shrugging off defenders done by Wallace. Mortimer again converted to bring up the 50 point mark and the game then fell into a familiar pattern with Market Rasen working hard through the phases to carry the ball up the pitch only to be eventually turned over and driven into reverse with the visitor’s pacy counter attacks. These yielded further tries for Josh Cassell in the 55th and 63rd minutes as he mirrored his opposite wing in completing a hat trick. Mortimer converted the second of these tries to set a new personal best of 292 points in a season, as he now closes in on the all time club record of 366 points in a campaign. There was little else of note in a game where despite their dominance Bedford Athletic were awarded only two penalties, but the home side did score a breakaway try in the 72nd minute through inside centre Josh Lawton.

Results elsewhere meant that the side are now eleven points clear of the chasing pack in second place but still trailing leaders Syston by four points with Melton Mowbray the visitors to Putnoe Wood this Saturday with a 2.15pm kick off.