Bedford Athletic lost for the second week running in the Regional One South East division as HUEL Tring pulled off a deserved 39-20 win to jump to fifth in the division.
The match would not have finished as close as they did were it not for a spate of uncontested scrums in the second half.
The first half illustrated the difference in composure and execution between the two sides, with Tring gaining an early advantage that they never relinquished with a penalty under the posts kicked by scrum half Ben Hogan on 10 minutes.
Bedford Athletic nearly responded immediately but Leo Mortimer nudged his penalty kick wide.
Play remained confined to the middle third of the pitch but with Tring clearing their lines at every opportunity, Bedford
Athletic were running the ball from their own half.
Tring had two meaningful breaks both through their centre pairing; the first resulting in a vital try saving tackle from full
back Stephen Woodhead, and the second saw the same pairing slice through again on 23 minutes with prop Casey George yellow carded for killing the ball at the ruck.
Hogan boot does first half damage
Another Hogan penalty gave the home side a 6-0 lead, but Bedford Athletic returned the kick off clearance with interest as Josh Cassell initiated their best period of phase play in the half which ended with a penalty kick to Mortimer who converted for his first points of the day for the Ath.
From the kick off, Bedford Athletic attempted to run the ball, dropped it conceding a scrum they could ill afford with a prop off the pitch and promptly gave away a scrum penalty that Hogan converted for 9-3.
The pressure of playing with 14 men continued to tell and Tring continued to work field position with Hogan kicking another two penalties for a 15-3 lead before the Ath regained a full compliment of players.
At the start of the second half and under pressure in the scrum, Bedford Athletic could ill afford errors in possession which having caught the kick off they duly did within two passes, knocking the ball on and conceding a scrum.
The scrum became a penalty and the consistent Hogan again converted for an 18-3 lead.
Sensing the game there for the taking Tring now upped the intensity and with the visitors’ ill discipline a continuing factor in conceding both possession and territory, Tring pressed for a try.
Brief Bedford comeback stamped out
Hooker Liam Walsh had departed the field injured before scrum half Michael Trigg delayed a put in at a defensive scrum, conceding a free kick and a scrum to Tring, whereby they duly marched the visiting eight back over their own line
for a score through Jacob Murtagh, converted by Logan for a 25-3 lead.
Prop Lewis Ager was yellow carded in the process, an action that bizarrely turned the game in the visitor’s favour.
With the reserve front row injured the game reverted to uncontested scrums and advancing to the Tring 22 for the first time in the match, Bedford Athletic now had a stable platform from which to attack.
The first try came from a series of rucks with Casey George picking up and diving over on 58 minutes, and when Josh Cassell scored again, the score narrowed to 25-15, although it wasn’t too last long.
A score in the left corner for wing Rory Hardman was followed by a chip over the defence collected by centre Ed Stanford, as the home side forged 39-15 ahead, but with prop Lewis Ager leaving the field injured, uncontested scrums resumed.
Bedford Athletic attacked again and Cassell scored his second try of the day, but it wasn’t enough as Tring easily held on for the win.
Three defeats in a row mean Bedford Athletic are above the relegation places only on points difference and they are in need of a win at home to Hertford this Saturday.
Words by Jeremy Tyrrell