Bedford Athletic 57
Market Rasen & Louth 29
A hat-trick from Ben Johnson saw Bedford Athletic secure an eight-try 57 -29 victory over Market Rasen on Saturday.
The result lifts Ath to third place in Midlands One East and consolidates their position amongst the front runners in the league prior to a week’s break for County Cup ties.
Early conceded penalties couldn’t stop Ath from taking a seventh-minute as Johnson found himself in space, evaded the immediate tacklers and danced his way through the cover defence before finally outpacing the full-back to score under the posts, with James Mortimer converting.
Market Rasen hit straight back as the home side gave away a number of lazy penalties as they surrendered field position, eventually allowing outside centre Matt Sutton to cross with Meehal Grint converting to level the scores.
Gradually Ath gained the ascendancy and Stuart Polson touched down a catch-and-drive move, which Mortimer converted to restore their lead.
This was enhanced when Johnson again broke the line to score on 24 minutes with Mortimer adding the extras.
On the half-hour mark Luke Levitt broke from deep within his own half, wrong footed the covering defence, and switched passes with the supporting Rob Watkins to race the length of the field for the bonus point try.
Minutes later a try from the training ground saw Mortimer deliver an exquisitely-timed pass to Tommy Mills, who touched down under the posts for the fifth try of the day.
Martin Wolfenden’s barnstorming runs helped to punch holes in the visitors’ defence and Polson carried the ball to the post where James Ball was on hand to crash over from a yard out.
Mortimer converted as he kicked everything on offer in the first half, but a quickly-taken tap penalty on the stroke of half time allowed Grint to dive over as Ath led 42-12 at the break.
Ath struggled for both possession and territory for the first 20 minutes of the second half as Market Rasen were eventually awarded a penalty try after seven scrums on Ath’s line.
And the visitors had the bonus point on 52 minutes when Grint again crossed for Market Rasen’s fourth try of the day.
Trapped in their own half Ath conceded a fifth on the hour mark to Leigh Dearden, but Grint could only add one conversion mas the visitors trailed 42-29. However, when Ath finally regained possession they took control as Mortimer steadied the ship[ with his 66th-minutes penalty and Johnson sealed victory with a scorching run down the left wing to complete his hat-trick.
Mortimer failed to convert convert before delivering an inch-perfect crossfield kick for Charlie Darlow yo dive over for the final try of the day, which Mortimer this time converted.
This weekend Ampthill visit Putnoe Woods in the quarter-finals of the East Midlands Senior Cup, kic-off 2pm.