Bedford Athletic stun Huntingdon with seven-try salvo

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Bedford Athletic recorded a convincing victory at home to Huntingdon in Midlands One East, outscoring their visitors by seven tries to nil.

Having looked less than comfortable in the opening half, the home side extended a 14-3 half-time lead with an improved all-round display to brighten the afternoon in the second half.

It was Huntingdon who were on the scoreboard first with a penalty from fly-half Dan Malem in the opening 10 minutes, although this followed a score for the home side’s Stephen Woodhead which was ruled out for a forward pass.

It took two breakouts from defence to produce the first two tries; length of the field efforts from turnover ball from centre Ben Johnson and winger Woodhead.

James Mortimer converted both and hit the post with a penalty attempt.

Athletic were struggling to get continuity into their game and, when Tom Orton was penalised for a stamp five minutes before half-time, they had to survive an intense period of pressure on their own line.

With several attacking scrums repelled, Rob Watkins won a turnover ball penalty, leaving the scoreline intact at 14-3 at half-time.

As the sun came out at the start of the second half so did Bedford Athletics’ attacking game and three tries in the opening 20 minutes killed the game off as a contest.

Early pressure saw Huntingdon fail to clear their lines and, when a clearing kick went straight to Woodhead, he ran the ball back for a score under the posts that Mortimer converted.

As Huntingdon struggled to stay with the pace of the home side, penalties conceded allowed Bedford to kick to the corner and Luke Levitt was at the back of a fast paced rolling maul for the bonus point try.

Then Tom Dolemore led a charge up the left wing for the fifth try; Mortimer’s boot unerring, with each conversion successful for a 35-3 lead with 20 minutes left to play.

The home side did not let up in intensity, and the pace of their back play increased – with Luke Levitt LPT man of the match Ben Johnson creating space for a wave of attacks time and time again.

With 65 minutes played it was prop forward Guiseppe Picanza who prospered from a strong support line, and on 77 minutes substitute centre Charlie Darlow broke through for the final try.

One defeat in five matches is good enough for fourth place in the league at the moment and Bedford Athletic will face a stern challenge as they travel to fifth place Ilkeston this Saturday.