Bedford Athletic stay in bottom four after home defeat by Letchworth Garden City

A 26-20 home defeat by Letchworth Garden City on Saturday kept Bedford Athletic firmly in the bottom four of the Regional One South East table with one trip left this year away to Old Northamptonians this weekend.
Bedford Athletic on the way to defeat by Letchworth.Bedford Athletic on the way to defeat by Letchworth.
Bedford Athletic on the way to defeat by Letchworth.

Letchworth were comfortable winners as, although Bedford Athletic had periods of possession, they were generally too inaccurate to seriously threaten their visitors for the win.

Early exchanges were even, but when Letchworth stole a lineout they were able to launch a wave of attacks that brought them up to and over the home side’s try line, the try going to prop Oscar Robinson. Fly half Josh Sharp converted.

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Bedford showed what they could do when they won their own line out ball, launching a wave of attacks in response, although these ended with a scrum to the home side.

Nevertheless, they shunted the visiting pack backwards and from the space that this opened up, scrum half Michael Trigg darted over for the try, converted by Leo Mortimer.

The home side kept the pressure up and when Trigg took a quick tap penalty from in front of the posts, Letchworth were penalised for not retreating 10m and back row Luke Mongston was sin binned.

Mortimer kicked the penalty for the lead, but thereafter Bedford Athletic were unable to exploit the man advantage.

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An attacking lineout was lost and the next attack turned over as the attack down the left wing became isolated.

Returned to full numbers Letchworth responded by winning several penalties, kicking one to touch 5m from the home side’s try line.

A rumbling lineout drive was crossing the line with ease when the visiting hooker dropped the ball in the act of scoring leaving Bedford Athletic with a 10-7 advantage.

From the clearance Letchworth attacked again, although this time a Felix Mallalieu intercept might have brought a scoring chance for the home side except for the fact the ball was kicked dead from the half way line.

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Instead from the scrum, Letchworth broke through the home defence with winger Kaz Henderson bulldozing over for his side’s second try under the posts that Sharp converted.

Another kick from the home side went dead and they were lucky not to concede again from the resultant scrum, this time the attack was hauled down and turned over by Eldon Craven to keep the score to 14-10 at half-time.

Playing against the wind in the second half, Athletic initially struggled to break out of their own half.

A strong break by Mallalieu eventually earned them terriritory and although the same player seemed to be tackled high in the act of scoring, Craven was on hand to pick up and dive over for a try in the corner that gave Bedford Athletic a 15-14 lead.

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Straight from the kick off the home side conceded a 5m line out, Letchworth carried hard through a series of phases and back row Mongston made up for his time off the park by scoring with Sharp converting to make the score 21-15 with half an hour to play.

When they did have possession it was not long before Bedford either over committed, misplaced the pass or dropped the ball and therefore their pressure was never for long enough to create a scoring chance.

Letchworth had the next opportunity when a penalty kick at goal went wide.

From the drop out, another kick went deep into the home side’s half, they in turn ran the ball back hard down the left wing but ran out of support, were turned over and Letchworth sharply switched play to the opposite wing where swift interpassing saw them knife through the defence, full back Charlie Parkhouse dotting down the bonus point try.

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Bedford tried to get back into the game and a couple of breaks from Trigg gave them some momentum but even from set plays where the home side were generally dominant in the scrum, the move soon broke down without many phases being achieved.

Visiting scrum half Harvey Howman was sin-binned for illegally halting an attack close to his own line in the final 10 minutes and Athletic made the extra man pay with Mallaieu finding the gap to dart through and score, but it was too late for anything but a losing bonus point.

In the RFU Championship this Saturday Bedford Blues are at home to Nottingham while Ampthill host a vist by Caldy.

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