Bedford Athletic back up to third after Newark win

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  • Bedford Athletic regain third place in Midlands One East Table
  • Athletic were in control at half-time with a 22-12 lead
  • Further scores after the break earned a comfortable 34-24 victory
  • Luke Levitt bagged two tries in a man of the match display

An efficient performance from Bedford Athletic saw them secure a bonus point win at home to Newark by 34 points to 24.

Newark brought plenty of spirit to the encounter but Athletic were rarely in top gear as they did enough to move back to third place in the Midlands One East table.

When play was carried deep into the Newark 22, an offside in midfield allowed James Mortimer the first penalty chance of the day which he converted for an early lead.

From the next opportunity they scored again as Rob Watkins won turnover ball and Charlie Darlow sliced through the defence for the opening try on his 50th first team appearance for the club. Mortimer added the conversion.

Newark got on the scoreboard in the 20th minute when Bedford Athletic hesitated in defence, got turned over and Matt Brewer sprinted clear to score. The conversion was missed.

Athletic’s response was immediate as Mortimer chipped over the defence for Darlow to gather and score his second try.

Levitt capped his man of the match performance with another try at the back of a rolling maul

The home side were now getting the rhythm of their game going, but Newark hit back when scrum-half Mark Byrom sprinted 80 metres for a breakaway try which Dan Mackie converted to narrow the score to 15-12.

Bedford responded well and Tom Orton executed a perfect dummy at a ruck to beat the cover defence and score the third try which Mortimer converted to put his side 22-12 up at half-time.

Athletic stamped their authority on the game in the opening moments of the second half as a line out was driven over for the bonus point try, with Luke Levitt claiming the touch down.

With visiting scrum-half Byrom finally in the sinbin for one offside too many, Levitt capped his man of the match performance with another try at the back of a rolling maul for a 34-12 lead.

Athletic lost concentration at the base of a scrum on the halfway line and Newark broke clear to allow winger Usher to score, with Mackie converting to make the score 34-19 with 12 minutes remaining.

Athletic continued to press but poor execution allowed Newark to survive; Tommy Mills notably being bundled in to touch as the back line ran out of space.

In the final moments of the game the home side conceded several penalties, allowing Newark to run the length of the field and leave with an improbable fourth bonus point try scored by Brewer.