Stockwood Park 0 Bedford Athletic 62

Bedford Athletic advanced to the Final of the Bedfordshire Cup with a 62-0 win at Stockwood Park.

Ten tries saw them dominate this semi final tie played in blustery conditions in Luton but the visitors mastered both the elements and their opponents for a comprehensive victory.

Bedford Athletic began the game against the wind with an early flurry of attacks which ended with a knock on. This allowed their hosts to gain a foothold in the game and eventually they forced a 5 metre scrum as a result of sloppy defensive work from Athletic. The visitors survived this period of pressure but were struggling to make headway against the wind until a series of quick tap penalties built momentum into the game and eventually stand in captain for the night James Wallace scored the first try. James Hawken converted in the 16th minute. Bedford Athletic followed this up with a length of the field attack that saw Charlie Darlow, David Simpson, Wallace and eventually Robbie Locke all link up well with Locke finishing the try, Hawken again converting. From the kick off another direct attack saw Jake Foster make strong ground and this time the try was finished by Sven Meiland. Driving play from the forwards saw Ben Beagent profit as he dived over from a yard out, Hawken’s fourth conversion of the night made it 28-0 on the half hour mark. James Wallace crossed for the fifth try on 34 minutes and the sixth try came on the stroke of half time as from a set piece scrum in the middle of the field Bedford Athletic spread play wide for Josh Cassell to accelerate away for the final try of the half as Bedford Athletic led 38-0 at the break.

Early in the second half a charge down near the Stockwood Park line allowed Andy Ince to pick up and dive through the centre of the ruck for the opening score of the second half. However the impetus started to go out of the visitor’s game as they conceded a series of penalties that allowed their hosts to take the initiative. This pressure ended when the ball was passed straight into touch. There was little control on the game at this stage but Stockwood Park were not accurate enough and eventually a poor clearance kick allowed the Athletic back line to run the ball with interest, James Gardner scorching round the defence for a try in the 63rd minute. James Hawken converted to bring up 50 points and four minutes later Josh McCann and David Simpson carried hard into the Stockwood defence and this allowed Matt Trigg to cross at the resultant ruck for the ninth try. Hawken converted but was unsuccessful with his final attempt of the night once Stockwood Park had again been stretched from side to side across the field of play ending with Sven Meiland’s second try with two minutes left.

Bedford Athletic will meet Dunstablians in the final at the end of the season and will travel to Sandbach this Saturday needing a win to stave off relegation in their National 3 Midlands campaign.