An eleven try return was evidence of a performance that saw them always in control although there are still areas to work on and improve in the weeks ahead.
Forty nine seconds of the season had elapsed when Ben Johnson picked up pretty much where he left off last season with the opening try. The hard yards were made down the left flank by Sven Meiland but when the play was stretched right Johnson exploited the space well to glide over. The lead was doubled in the third minute when Tommy Mills picked up a loose ball that bounced clear at a ruck on the half way line to run 50 metres to score, James Mortimer adding the conversion for a 12-0 lead. After a period of Wellingborough pressure Mortimer re-established home superiority in the 14th minute with a penalty and from the kick off Johnson went over again to stretch the lead to 20-0. Sven Meiland secured the bonus point in the 27th minute with his first try of the day literally bouncing the full back out of the way for a score converted by Mortimer. Tom Dolemore added the fifth in the 29th minute and before half time a wonderfully mazy run from 30 yards by hooker Liam Walsh including a superbly timed interchange pass with Andy Ince saw him cross for the sixth try of the day (and his first try for the club) which Mortimer converted. A spilt ball when running out of defence allowed Wellingborough an opportunity at the end of the half and a cleverly crafted move by fly half Peter Vickers saw Jez Brookes dot down for the visitor’s opening score. Vickers converted to make the score 39-7 at half time.
Bedford Athletic hit their visitors hard at the start of the second half with first Tommy Mills and then a welcome try on his return to the side from Stephen Woodhead, who showed good strength and balance to make the whitewash, extending the lead to 53-7 with Mortimer adding both conversions. The hosts were then guilty of losing concentration as turnover ball allowed Wellingborough to break down the right wing, Paul Lambert crossing for a try converted by Vickers. Although Tommy Mills scored his hat trick try dropping on to a loose ball, Athletic were turned over again from the kick off and this time a strong run from Charlie Baker allowed Rob Owen to cross for Wellingborough’s third try of the day which went unconverted. Leading 58-19 Bedford Athletic stiffened their resolved and determined to finish the game the stronger. Dominating the set piece they swarmed over the visitors in attack and suffocated them in defence and further tries from Meiland and Johnson (his hat trick) with one converted by Mortimer saw them home to the 70-19 scoreline.
On a high scoring day in the league this result is only good enough for third place which is a stern reminder of the tougher tests to come starting at home to Bugbrooke this Saturday with a 3pm kick off at Putnoe Woods.