Bedford Athletic warmed up for the new season with a comfortable 33-12 pre-season win at Shelford on Saturday.
Playing away to a side in the London Premier, one level higher than Bedford, this was an encouraging performance ahead of a campaign where they hope to reverse last season’s relegation from what is now the Midlands Premier Division.
The hosts took an early 12-0 lead as Athletic shook off pre-season rustiness.
The gap was narrowed to 12-7 by half-time and in the second half the visitors took control with the hard work of pre-season coming through as they outscored Shelford by four tries to nil.
Five tries in total were notched on the day with Andy Ince, Tom Orton, David Simpson, Stephen Woodhead and Josh Cassell all going over.
A strong kicking performance from James Mortimer saw him convert four of his five attempts at the posts.
The Bedford second team were also in action as Robbie Locke bagged a try and two conversions while Robbie Taylor dotted down in their 38-14 loss to Shelford IIs.
There have been some alterations to Athletics’ early season fixtures too.
Pitch improvement works over the summer mean that the first three league games against Wellingborough, Bugbrooke and Huntingdon will be on the road with the first home game against Kettering taking place on September 23.
The club have also pencilled in their East Midlands Cup quarter-final fixture away to Oundle for Saturday, October 7.
The new season will bring a new challenge for the second team. As the reigning East Midlands merit table winners, they will defend their title in what will be a new five-team top division in the East Midlands League, and combine this with a full campaign in the top division of the Herts and Middlesex Merit Leagues.
All Athletic teams travel to Wellingborough on September 2, for the first Saturday of the season proper, with the firsts, seconds and Colts all in action.
Kick-offs will be at 3pm.