Sudbury 47 Bedford Athletic 26

Bedford Athletic were soundly beaten at Sudbury by 47 points to 26. A dismal performance throughout the eighty minutes left them with nothing to take home from the afternoon, having failed to bring either accuracy or intensity to the encounter.

The visitors opened the scoring in the third minute when they moved the ball to the outside channels and secured a penalty kicked by Leo Mortimer. Sudbury’s opening try came after Bedford Athletic had failed on several occasions to clear the ball from their own 22. Eventually Sudbury were able to attack and a good line from inside centre Jake Sumner saw him brush aside a couple of weak tackles for the opening score. Mortimer responded with another penalty but sloppy unforced errors continued to invite Sudbury into promising attacking positions. When a penalty kick hit the post a number of Bedford Athletic players watched rather than reacted to the rebound and although full back Oli Petrides appeared to touch the ball down for a goal line drop out the referee played on and awarded the try to no.8 Sam Bixby who was next to ground the ball. Bedford Athletic persisted with trying to run the ball out of defence but lacked the necessary accuracy to do this convincingly and continued to offer Sudbury turnover ball and further scoring opportunities. Sudbury took advantage of two of those, the first being the result of a series of forward drives close to the visitor’s line scored by wing Gareth Pugh and the second was another break by Jake Sumner who once again evaded any would be tacklers for his second score and the bonus point try in the first half hour. These scores were interspersed with a try for Josh Cassell who cut a good line from a lineout and then accelerated away from the defence for a try in the left corner. Fly half Sam Rust converted all four tries for Sudbury and Leo Mortimer added a third penalty before half time for Bedford Athletic to go past 200 points for the season. Bedford Athletic did have a couple of line out driving mauls before half time which didn’t really come to anything and lost captain Nick Thomas to a yellow card for persistent team offences although given the number of penalties in the half this could also have been shown to Sudbury who led 28-14 at half time.

Bedford Athletic began the second half by over chasing a kick allowing Sudbury plenty of space behind their defence to counter attack, eventually wing Pugh crossedfor a second unconverted try. There was some respite for the visitors on 44 minutes when they finally got an attacking move to flow and spreading the ball wide Oli Petrides showed pace and power to cross on the right wing for his side’s second try, Mortimer converting. Sudbury continued to pressurise their visitors and kept their grip on the game with a further two penalties from Rust to extend their lead to 39-21. The away side did manage to get their lineout drive and maul to function and two close range penalties allowed prop Ryan Taylor to cross from this move for their third try on 62 minutes. No sooner had they got back within a fighting chance of taking something from the game than they immediately conceded another score, this time the defence was too slow to turn and cover back a grubber kick from scrum half Frazer Beckett and full back Jasper Roydell won the foot race for his side’s sixth try. Bedford Athletic did have a chance to score their fourth and bonus point try but they rushed through a series of attacking rucks and the ball carrier got isolated and turned over. The play was disrupted with five minutes to go with a leg break for a Sudbury player meaning the match had to be moved to an adjoining pitch. There was still time for a final Sudbury penalty and for Bedford Athletic to again turn the ball over in trying to launch one final attack.

Following yet another sub par showing away from home, Bedford Athletic will look to benefit from home advantage this week when they take on bottom side Medway with a 3pm kick off at Putnoe Wood.