AFTER three impressive performances Bedford Tigers came crashing down to earth as they collapsed to a 38-22 defeat to North Hertfordshire Crusaders in the East England Regional Division on Saturday.
The Tigers, still plagued by injury, made a bright start and shared some ferocious exchanges in the opening 10 minutes.
However, they were punished for committing the game’s first offence and the Crusaders ran in the first of their seven tries in the corner.
Tigers’ problems worsened as the Crusaders ran in a further two tries before the Bedford boys managed to get a grip back on the game.
They forced a goal-line drop-out and Luke Donaldson continued his very impresive start to his rugby league career by dancing through the defenders to open the Tigers’ account and Rob Ashton converted to make it 16-6.
Both teams managed anTrailing 20-12 at the break Tigers knew that they had to score first to reassert themselves in the game.
But an error-strewn opening quarter of an hour saw the Tigers defend more than they would have liked to in the blazing heat, and fatigue quickly took its toll.
The Crusaders extended their lead to 28-12 before Ollie Banfield pierced their defence to score on his debut and give the scoreline a degree of respectability at 28-18.
Bedford continued to make life hard for themselves by conceding soft penalties and giving away field position with needless handling errors and ruthless Crusaders capitalised.
Tigers were put to the sword on two further occasions before Walker scored a late consolation try to end an awful performance by Bedford.
Ashton added: “We’ll have to draw a line under that game and get ourselves fully prepared for the King’s Lynn game in two weeks.
“All teams have bad days at all levels and we know we’re far better than how we performed on Saturday.
“We’ll regroup and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We’re still positive that we can compete for the league title in August, but we have to make sure we up our game with some tough fixtures ahead of us in June.”
Tigers: Cliff, Donaldson, Scales, Banfield, Harrison, Walker, D Ashton, Muncaster, Foskett, Emerson, Harris, R Ashton, Bolton, Tompkins, Reed, Faulkner, Champ, Murphy, Card. T: Donaldson, Lee Walker, Champ, Banfield. G: Ashton 2, Walker.