Sidcup 17 Bedford Athletic 30

Bedford Athletic worked hard to earn a 30 points to 17 victory at Sidcup.

It was a match in which they led throughout and although they had to overcome a Sidcup fight back at the start of the second half they defended robustly and ultimately secured a convincing victory.

Bedford Athletic were first on the scoreboard on a blustery and at times wet afternoon on a pitch strewn with sand. Moving the ball to the wide channels they made progress down the left wing and good interplay between forwards and backs saw Andy Ince cross the line in the third minute, Leo Mortimer adding the conversion. An intense physical contest followed in which neither side seemed to be able to get the upper hand and in which scoring chances became a premium. An earnest and committed contest was typified by two yellow cards, one for each side and both for accidental but dangerous tackles. Nick Thomas left the field early for Bedford Athletic whilst fly half Luka Syplywczak departed just before half time for the hosts. Well matched up front it was the visiting backs who threatened more often although without penetrating far enough to create a score. It was left to kicks at goal to try and advance the scoreboard. Mortimer missed in the 25th minute from long range but was successful with a shorter range chance in the 33rd minute to make the score 10-0. The second try arrived with Sidcup pressing in the home 22, turning the ball over and Josh Cassell led another lightning attack down the left wing which Stephen Woodhead was on hand to finish off and score with Mortimer’s conversion making it 17-0 at half time.

Without a scoring chance to their name in the first half, Sidcup started the second half with plenty of verve and vigour and pinned Bedford Athletic back in their own half. The defence was up to the task, relieving the pressure on several occasions, although the clearing kick did not always make touch. As a result the visitors never really left their own half and were forced to pay for this when Sidcup attacked again and fly half Luka Syplywczak miss kicked his chip through into the hands of wing Alex Harris who scooted over for the try, Josh Twyford converting. Bedford Athletic looked to get back into the game but were undone in the 52nd minute by an interception try from Max O’Leary, again converted by Twyford. Suddenly the score was 17-14. Harry Sawford-Smith broke the defence to dart away down the left wing and although he was tackled into touch Bedford Athletic maintained the pressure and earned a penalty which Mortimer converted in the 57th minute. Sidcup came straight back with a penalty of their own courtesy of Twyford, but this too was cancelled out by the boot of Mortimer who made the score 23-17 in the 62nd minute. Thereafter the pressure came mainly from Sidcup but the visiting defence superbly marshalled by man of the match Steve Smith on his 50th appearance for the first XV held out with ease and fashioned chances of their own with both Smith and Woodhead hauled down just short of the line. Eventually Bedford Athletic pressed one final time. David Simpson broke free and fed Woodhead for the final score, converted by Mortimer to make certain of the victory.

Bedford Athletic continue to climb the table, this result moving them to 9th position ahead of the visit of Hertford this Saturday, kick off 2.30pm and eight points clear of safety.