Johnson bags try treble in easy win for Athletic

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A hat-trick from Ben Johnson saw Bedford Athletic stamp their authority all over Market Rasen as they cruised to a 42-7 win.

The scoring commenced in the sixth minute as Tommy Mills powered down the left wing for a trademark try.

As Athletic began to unpick the visitors in attack and defence, the second try went to Luke Levitt at the back of a driving maul on his way to a Bedford Athletic Ladies-sponsored man of the match performance.

In fact all of the back row were dominant, with Stefan Hughes-Brand and Rob Watkins also to the fore; turning the ball over, breaking the line and harrying Market Rasen at every opportunity.

It was from turnover ball that the home side scored their third try as Paul Ryder kicked over the top of the defence and put Johnson in for his first try of the day just before the half hour mark.

The bonus point was secured before half-time as Johnson flew down the left wing and beat the full-back to score in the corner for a 20-0 interval lead.

James Mortimer may not have been having much luck with the boot but he was pulling all the strings from fly-half.

Early in the second half he fed Charlie Darlow and, having broken the line again, Sven Meiland was on hand to touch down for the try.

Matters appeared to become more difficult for Bedford when Watkins was shown a yellow card on 48 minutes, but the 14 men remained on a roll.

Seven minutes later, having driven play close to the visitors’ line, scrum-half Tom Orton dummied his way over for what was Athletic’s 11,000th point in their league history.

Mortimer converted and Orton went from hero to villain when he was immediately yellow carded on the restart for stamping.

Undeterred, the 13 men swept upfield again. On this occasion, looking to run the clock down to allow the yellow carded players to return, Mortimer kicked a penalty for a 35-0 lead.

Once restored to full strength, Johnson completed his hat-trick and Mortimer rounded off the home side’s scoring with the conversion.

Late in the game, Ben Chamberlain did get over the line for the visitors when he spotted a gap and broke off from a rolling maul, with Dan Robinson converting.