In an outstanding display against opponents who had only lost twice all season, the pace, precision, power and purpose of the home team was just too much for their visitors with Bedford Athletic passing 400 points for the season so far in only their tenth league game.
A first minute penalty for offside got the home side off to a flying start, James Mortimer the beneficiary and the first try arrived on nine minutes. A line out win on the visiting 22 saw Stephen Woodhead running a perfect line and a dummy round the full back took him under the posts for the score. Mortimer added the extras. Newbold were showing plenty of purpose at this stage and a lack of concentration from the kick off saw the home team concede a penalty and they were then reduced to continuous defence for the next ten minutes. However during this period twice Newbold lineouts were stolen five metres out from the Bedford Athletic line and in fact the dominance of Sven Meiland and his fellow forwards in this area was so complete it is doubtful that Newbold secured their own ball from the lineout at any stage in the first half. When they returned to the attack Athletic had a gilt edged chance to score a further try of their own but a driving lineout was hauled down short of the visitor’s line. However Mortimer did extend the lead with a penalty and almost immediately the home side were on the scoreboard again as the ball was spread wide from the kick off and Tom Dolemore finished the move off in the left hand corner with Mortimer converting for a 20-0 lead on 25 minutes. Three minutes later the attack was down the right wing and this time a Woodhead kick ahead was gathered and touched down by David Simpson as the home backs literally pulled their visitors from one side of the field to the other exploiting space every time. Mortimer’s conversion made it 27-0 and the speed and accuracy of the hosts did not relent as the bonus point try was secured on 35 minutes with full back Charlie Darlow once again proving the extra man in midfield to cross for the fourth try. Although not converted this was not the end of an exhilarating first half. In his desperation to stop another attack Newbold centre Henry Clony deliberately slapped the ball down in midfield and having received a yellow card for his efforts Bedford Athletic immediately went through the gap he left to score their fifth try of the day, Darlow touching down and Mortimer converting for a 39-0 lead at half time.
With the dying wind at their backs Newbold may have expected to make a greater impression in the second half but most of it was still played out in their half. The scoring was less frequent as Newbold upped their focus in defence and Athletic at times over complicated matters in attack. The next try came in the 56th minute following a break by Rob Watkins but when he was held up short of the line the ball somewhat mysteriously travelled over the line and with the offside line disappearing Liam Walsh dived on the ball to score. Mortimer converted. Athletic remained in the ascendancy with man of the match centre Tommy Mills making the hard yards in attack and key tackles in defence. As the game wore on Newbold began to string some phases together but they were undone on 67 minutes when Mortimer read the play, intercepted the ball and broke clear of the defence, Stephen Woodhead appearing on his shoulder to take the pass for their final try of the day which Mortimer converted for a personal 18 point haul. Late in the game Newbold did take advantage of a loose ball at the back of a home scrum and once replacement hooker Ben Reed had been sent to the bin they exploited their man advantage for a consolation try for Ben Thompson.
With a comprehensive victory over their third place challengers and defeat for second place Derby, Bedford Athletic extended their lead at the top of the table to six points ahead of a trip to Northampton Old Scouts this Saturday.