Cup delight for Bedford Athletic

​Bedford Athletic claimed their 12th Bedfordshire Cup title with a 31-17 win at Stockwood Park in the final game of the 2022-23 season.
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The visitors started fast, a pace they did not maintain throughout the 80 minutes, and scored two tries in the first five minutes.

The first from a flowing backs move saw full back Joel Davies cross in the corner and for the second, a series of forward rumbles was finished off by Erran Singh-Soomal. The latter was converted by Leo Mortimer for a 12-0 lead.

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Thereafter Athletic began to allow the momentum to slip, failing to challenge their hosts with the pace and accuracy that might have been expected of the side from the higher league.

Bedford Athletic celebrate their cup success. (Photo: Bedford Athletic)Bedford Athletic celebrate their cup success. (Photo: Bedford Athletic)
Bedford Athletic celebrate their cup success. (Photo: Bedford Athletic)

Indeed Stockwood Park survived a period down to 13 men as they incurred two yellow cards in the opening period, surviving without conceding a score.

When Bedford lost captain Cameron Brough to the sin bin on 35 minutes their hosts took full advantage with their scrum half picking up from the base of an Athletic scrum and shrugging off the visiting winger for their opening try to make it 12-5.

The start to the second half was particularly poor from the visitors. With no tempo in their game and being slow to react it was a surprise that the side advanced far enough for Liam Walsh to be held up over the line in the early stages.

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The home dominance soon paid off with an unconverted try in the 57th minute to narrow the gap to 12-10.

With the tide seemingly against them, Bedford did well to start to shift the momentum, relying on their forwards to do so as a lineout catch and drive was mauled to the line to allow Nick Tarr to touch down on 63 minutes.

The tide seemed to have well and truly turned when Athletic finally got a flowing backs move going to allow captain Brough to touch down in the corner on 67 minutes, Mortimer converting the first of these tries.

Stockwood Park hit back immediately, cutting the lead to 24-17, but another dynamic lineout catch and drive saw Lewis Sharp breaking off the back of the maul to score the final try, Mortimer converting.

This 12th cup success sees Bedford Athletic narrow the gap to Stockwood Park’s leading 14 titles in the competition and closes the 22/23 season on a positive note with 99 tries scored.

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