With the league season hitting the midway stage, Bedford Tigers picked up two key points as they won 58-16 at bottom side Breckland Spartans.
The Tigers knew how important the points were in their bid to secure a top-three league standing at the halfway stage of the season as they travelled to face a Breckland team still finding their feet in the division.
Despite the two sides’ contrasting results so far this year, the early exchanges of the game were every bit as physical as you would find in the end of season play-offs.
The Spartans’ big strong runners battered their way almost 100m from kick-off to stamp their mark on the game early on and it took a good 10 minutes for the first score.
It required some individual brilliance from Ollie Fountain to step through the defensive line and outpace the full-back to score beneath the posts.
The Tigers scored a quick second, taking advantage of some disorganised defence, and Ben Jones scored the first of his hat-trick.
Fountain added a second after some characteristic jinky running, with Rob Ashton landing all three goals.
The Spartans hit back, though, and reduced the arrears to 18-4 at half-time.
The second half saw Breckland lose their shape more frequently and the Tigers took full advantage.
Jones completed his ha-trick, while a brace from full-back Josh Spearing was accompanied touch downs from Jock Marshall, Del Tribbeck and Ashton – all of which effectively put the game to bed, but not without a fight-back from the Spartans who scored three of their own.
Bedford player-coach Rob Ashton said: “We’re building something very good this season. We’re looking tight when we want to but still suffer from temporary lapses in concentration which costs us a few too many points.
“If we can learn to tighten those holes up, we’re confident we can have a very successful season.”
Tries: Jones (3), Spearing (2), Fountain (2), Marshall, Ashton, D Tribbeck.
Goals: Ashton (8), Ryder (1).
Squad: Spearing, Speed, D Tribbeck, Fountain, Norford, Ryder, Peachey, Flook, Marshall, Siudak, Jones, Ellson, Ashton, Baker, Foskett, Card.
Man of the Match: Matt Ellson – Big tackles, good carries and communication for the full 80 minutes.