The dominant Bedford Tigers have clinched a remarkable treble in the East RL – winning all three major trophies on offer in 2015.
Having already won the East 9s festival back in May, the Tigers added the East Cup to the trophy cabinet in July and on Saturday completed an unprecedented treble by winning the East RL Premier Division Grand Final at Putnoe Woods.
Despite having outscored fellow finalists St Ives by almost 200 points throughout the regular season, the Tigers were clearly suffering from Grand Final nerves and got off to a poor start as the Roosters took an early 4-0 lead.
Things got worse shortly after when the Tigers lost winger Khrys Speed to a suspected fractured cheekbone, but Bedford composed themselves and drew level through hooker Jock Marshall who sniped over from close range.
The Tigers took the lead soon afterwards through Sam Richbell who barrelled his way through frantic defenders to reach out over the line.
The game then became a defensive stalemate, but Bedford stand-off Paul Ryder took the initiative and gave the Tigers a two-score lead with a drop goal.
Fellow half-back Lee Walker then showed great vision to carve a gap through the Roosters defence and race a full 50m to score right before half-time. Rob Ashton converted twice to give the Tigers a 17-4 lead at the interval.
Now feeling in more control of the game and with the nerves settled, Ollie Fountain squirmed out of a tackle to score the first try of the second half, followed by Ollie Francis rounding the full-back to give the Tigers a commanding 29-4 lead.
However, the Roosters hit back as clever half-back plays and big forward carries began to wear the Tigers down and they scored a quick-fire brace of tries to reduce the Tigers’ lead to 29-16.
With the boat rocking, skipper Karl Siudak – who had been tremendous in both attack and defence all game – reasserted the Tigers’ dominance by scoring two tries of his own, both converted by Ryder.
With one hand on the title, Richy Sinclair linked with Fountain to put the game to bed and seal the most memorable season in Tigers history.
Squad: Josh Spearing, Khrys Speed, Ollie Fountain, Jack Peachey, Sean Tribbeck, Lee Walker, Paul Ryder, Karl Siudak, Jock Marshall, Gary Flook, Tom Albone, Ollie Francis, Rob Ashton, Sam Richbell, Ed Strand, Will Norford, Richy Sinclair, Matt Ellson