Bedford travelled to Cambridge University this week and put in their most assured team performance to date this season, in doing so rising to third place in the table.
In the first half, open play chances were few and far between however set pieces from both sides were very well executed.
Bedford took the lead through captain Rachel Jackson’s first competitive goal for the club as she lashed a penalty corner into the bottom corner, but the lead didn’t last long as Cambridge equalised from their own PC with a deflection off the initial shot.
Bedford were slowly building up steam, with Yvette Van Yperen’s skills in the circle giving the Maroons another opportunity which Beth Noble duly converted.
It looked as though Bedford would head into the break with a narrow advantage until the umpire took a harsh view on an accidental foot outside the circle and awarded the penalty corner; Cambridge made no mistake to draw level.
After half-time Bedford enjoyed their best spell of the game, playing some controlled passing hockey led masterfully from the back by the composed Emma Pinny alongside captain Jackson who earned the player of the match plaudits.
Going forward Bedford committed more players to the attack and their press was becoming more of a weapon, underlined when pressure from Claire Higginson gave Kate Costin an opportunity.
Bedford’s number 4 lifted the ball over the final defender before calmly rounding the keeper, and then another corner conversion made it 4-2 to Bedford as Andrea Mason roofed Jackson’s strike to the back post, giving the keeper no chance.
Pippa Jones, Charlotte Holland and Becky Childs in the Bedford midfield were seeing much more of the ball as were half backs SJ Darrington and Harri Kinnear, who had lots of space in front of them to exploit.
Bedford continued to boss the possession and draw fouls from the students, leading to a fifth goal as Childs’ fine receive opened up the space in the circle for Higginson and she fired the ball across the goal, with Mason getting the faintest of touches to seal the impressive win.
The students looked to push forward and played some neat hockey too, but the Maroons defended well, applying good cover while Leanne Sargeant came off her line well on a couple of occasions to sniff out any Cambridge hopes of a fightback.
All in all, a much more pleasing performance from Paul Livesey’s team and one which sets up nicely next week’s home game with unbeaten West Herts – push back is 1pm at Chester Road