Shelford 20 Bedford Athletic 15

Bedford Athletic fought hard away to Shelford but ended up on the wrong side of a 20 points to 15 scoreline.

In a match in which 4 tries were shared, Shelford had just enough of the possession and territory to ensure they were able to kick the extra points to make the difference to the final result.

Shelford conceded a penalty from the kick off and Bedford Athletic were soon on the attack, the final pass between Leo Mortimer and Josh Cassell not quite going to hand for the opening try. The visitors did have a penalty advantage though and from this the forwards carried hard repeatedly into the home defence until Tom Allwrightcrossed for the try that Mortimer was unable to convert. Minutes later Oli Petrides set up another attacking opportunity with a fine 50:22 kick but the attacking lineout was lost and Shelford cleared the danger. It was now the turn of the home side to subject their visitors to pressure in defence but Bedford Athletic withstood this well. They forced the ball to be held up over their own try line, disrupted an attacking five metrescrum and turned the ball over on several occasions but every clearance kick was run back at them keeping the pressure on. Eventually a clearing penalty put Bedford Athletic back in the Shelford half but the line out was overthrown and Shelford broke quickly from turnover ball achieving from 50 yards out what they couldn’t muster in their opponents 22 with a fast paced counter leading to a score for winger ShingaiChiwanga. Matters got worse for Bedford Athletic when they failed to properly defend a ruck inside the Shelford half, the home side poured through the gap and once again sprinted away from 50 yards out for a try finished off by centre Jack Biard. Two successful conversions from Lewis Cracknell made the score 14-5 on the half hour mark. Mortimer responded with a penalty for the visitors and the half ended with Shelford winger Louie Tang penalised for a head tackle on Petrides for which he surprisingly received no more than a yellow card.

Bedford Athletic nearly made the man advantage pay early in the second half butwith the defence finally pierced, Petrides and Josh Cassell couldn’t quite execute a two on one overlap and the try went begging. Shelford cleared the danger and began to dominate long periods of possession although without threatening to create a scoring chance. This changed on the hour mark when Allwright was needlessly sin binned for not retreated ten metres at a penalty. Shelford advanced into the visitor’shalf and another penalty offered a shot at goal which Cracknell converted for a 17-8 lead. Although under pressure with a seven man forward pack the visitors did not wilt and Steve Smith spearheaded a number of forays into the home side’s half. Having arrived within five metres of the Shelford line, Bedford Athletic drove from a scrum, tied in the forwards with a series of drives under the posts and then spread the ball for winger Cassell to narrow the scores with a try in the 68th minute, Mortimer’s conversion making it 17-15. Thereafter Shelford trapped their visitors in their own half and unable to break out to seek a winning score, Athletic coughed up a number of penalties. Surprisingly Cracknell missed a couple of attempts at goal but he was successful in the final minute after Jake Foster was sin binned for a high tackle as Shelford looked to close the game out rather than attempt to push for a try bonus point, which they were successful in doing by 20 points to 15.

With four games played and three of these away from home, Bedford Athletic sit in mid table with a win and a couple of bonus points before the visit of the side just below them, Hertford this coming Saturday with a 3pm kick off at Putnoe Wood.