Melton Mowbray 11 Bedford Athletic 43

Bedford Athletic produced a solid away performance to triumph 43-11 at Melton Mowbray.

With gale force winds doing their best to disrupt the match Bedford Athletic kept their composure throughout the game to navigate a difficult away contest and emerge victors by 7 tries to 1.

The wind factor dominated early proceedings with neither side able to bring their game to bear on the match as both sides worked out how best to play the elements. An early opportunity for Bedford Athletic saw fly half James Mortimer kick through the defence to the line only for the ball to go dead and offer the home team a 22 metre drop out. As the match did click into gear it was the visitors who found themselves on the wrong side of the referees whistle and the concession of penalties eventually led to a prolonged period of pressure in their 22. This in itself saw the arrival of a penalty to Melton Mowbray on 18 minutes which they duly kicked for a 3-0 lead. The Bedford Athletic response was immediate with a slick handling move between the forwards producing their best try of the day allowing replacement prop Josh Smith to touch down in his first game for the club since the 2011-12 season. This try on 21 minutes was quickly followed by tries on 25 and 30 minutes from Andy Ince and Josh Cassell as Bedford Athletic took control of the game. From the restart following the third try, Bedford Athletic dropped the ball and this allowed Melton Mowbray to once more build up a head of steam looking for a response to the concession of those three tries. Eventually they took a second penalty kick at goal on 38 minutes and Bedford Athletic led 19-6 at half time.

Early pressure in the second half was all from Melton Mowbray but when Andy Ince picked up from the base of a scrum, ran hard at the visiting defence, and offloaded to Tom Bills in support, with Rob Watkins on hand to finish off the scoring opportunity from 30 metres out, the momentum once again swung back to Bedford Athletic as they established a 24-6 lead. The try of the game arrived on 58 minutes as the visitors once again disrupted a home attack, Nick Thomas stole the ball and then weighted a perfect pass over 30 metres to his wing Josh Cassell who powered away from 50 metres out to score his second and the sides’ fifth try of the day, Mortimer converting for a 31-6 lead. Halfway through the second half Bedford Athletic were dominating the match with their forward pack frustrating any momentum their hosts attempted to build and their backs proving a constant threat with ball in hand. On 64 minutes Harry Sawford Smith was through for his eighth try in ten starts for the 1st XV and the visitors scoring was finished three minutes later when Stuart Livesey was on hand to benefit from another line break with Mortimer converting for a 43-6 lead. Bedford Athletic dropped the restart and eventually with a player in the bin for repeated infringements, the visitors were made to count the cost as Melton Mowbray found the man advantage with the final move of the game, the try being scored by inside centre Klay Radford.

Bedford Athletic take their unbeaten record into their home game with Northampton Old Scouts this Saturday at Putnoe Wood with a 3.00pm kick off.