Athletic finish league campaign with a win

Bedford Athletic sealed the title last week
Bedford Athletic sealed the title last week

Bedford Athletic completed their league championship winning campaign with a 14-0 victory away to Wellingborough.

Wellingborough had most of the possession in the early exchanges but the visiting defence held firm and denied their hosts any real try-scoring opportunities.

Once possession of their own was secured, Bedford immediately fashioned a chance. From an attacking lineout Nick Thomas drove hard into the home defence and, when he was eventually hauled down, a quick series of passes saw Andy Ince crash over for the first try. James Mortimer converted for a 7-0 lead on 13 minutes.

Playing down the slope it appeared that the visitors’ probing play was beginning to pay dividends when they scored their second try on 20 minutes; this time Mortimer spotted the space in behind a very flat Wellingborough defence and Tommy Mills timed his run to perfection to score under the posts. Mortimer’s conversion made the score 14-0.

In the remainder of the half the visitors really should have extended their lead, with several try-scoring chances being spurned.

Andy Ince, Josh Cassell, Paul Ryder and Ben Johnson were all through the defensive line but a combination of the last pass not going to hand, not surviving the final tackle or just dropping the ball meant all these opportunities went astray.

The half-time lead was therefore less than it should have been at 14-0.

Although Athletic started the second half brightly, once they lost possession Wellingborough were quick to push them back into their own half.

With the weather closing in, and playing against the wind and sleet up the hill, that is pretty much where they remained for the next half hour.

Injuries to Johnson, Matt Shacklady and Rob Watkins also disrupted the side, with the hooker moving to the back row and a back row out to the wing.

Wellingborough missed a fairly simple penalty early in the second half and that was the final clear cut scoring chance of the game.

Elsewhere, the Bedford Athletic second team completed a record season in the modern era with a 56-22 win also at Wellingborough – giving them 23 wins from 26 matches and 1,087 points for the season.