Bedford Athletic tore their hosts Oundle apart as they won 96-0 away from home in their East Midlands Cup quarter final.
James Mortimer set a personal best scoring 29 points on the day as Harry Sawford-Smith also bagged a hat trick as the visitors played with a pace and precision that their hosts simply couldn’t match.
An early clearance by Oundle was fielded by full back Charlie Darlow and he set in motion a lethal counter attack that saw Josh Cassell cross for the opening try on 3 minutes on his 50th appearance for the first XV. James Mortimer converted and minutes later kicked a penalty. Then it was the forwards turn to dominate and once they had been held up over the line they drove forward from the resulting scrum with Rob Watkins touching down. Mortimer converted this try and kicked a further penalty on 13 minutes for a 20-0 lead. Bedford Athletic had quickly become dominant in all facets of play and when Sven Meiland stole an Oundle lineout it set up the move that led to Sawford-Smith’s first try of the day. The scrum had also become an area of little joy for the home side and Bedford Athletic were showing themselves to be as prolific in a tight driving game as they were with the ball in hand in open space, as Nick Thomas barged his way over for the fourth try on 25 minutes. There were two further tries before half time. On 29 minutes Bedford Athletic constructed a well worked play from another dominant set piece that allowed Stephen Woodhead to break through and muscle over a couple of defenders on his way to the try line. Then a brief period of Oundle pressure paid no dividends when the ball was overthrown at an attacking lineout and John Clarke led the charge out of defence before a length of the field move was finished off by David Simpson under the posts. With only one conversion missed in the first half James Mortimer stretched the score to 44-0 and made it 47-0 with a penalty on the stroke of half time.
Bedford Athletic secured a lineout from the second half kick-off and immediately produced another length of the field effort for Sawford-Smith’s second try. Mortimer added the conversion and Oundle’s position was not helped when ex-Bedford Blues favourite Jon Phillips was sin binned in the 46th minute. Further attacks led to a penalty try on 52 minutes when Woodhead was taken out in the act of catching the ball in mid air. From that point on the tries started to flow thick and fast. Ryan Taylor touched down another forwards drive from a lineout on 56 minutes, Darlow danced his way through the defence again on 58 minutes and Sawford-Smith completed his hat trick on the hour mark. The pace, power and direct lines of running of the visiting side were too much for their hosts to handle and Nick Thomas led the way with a number of rampaging runs around the field. Stefan Hughes-Brand made a welcome return to the side when he took a ball at the back of a lineout, spun out of the tackle and sped through the defence and over the line in the 69th minute. Charlie Darlow who had posed a physical threat that Oundle really couldn’t answer all afternoon helped finish off the 13th try in the 72nd minute at which point Oundle pleaded with the referee to call a halt to proceedings. As Mortimer had converted all the second half tries this had pushed the score up to 96-0 and the referees’ decision to end the game eight minutes early denied Bedford Athletic the opportunity to hit the 100 point mark. Nevertheless it was their largest winning margin since a 109-0 defeat of Daventry in the East Midlands Cup in 1999.
The team return to league rugby this Saturday when they host Market Rasen & Louth at Putnoe Wood with a 3.00pm kick off.