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1st XV - Match centre

Kettering
Bedford Athletic
Sat 13 Jan 14:15 - Midlands Division - Midlands 1 (East) Full time

Blues crash at home.

Bedford Ath ran out 27-10 winners over the Blues, as the home side succumbed to their first home league defeat, other than last seasons play-off game, for 2 seasons.

This game was always going to be a physical encounter, as both sides vied for a top two slot and the continued chance of promotion to level 5.
The visitors edged the early exchanges, but the Blues defence was as solid as ever and the Ath's attacks were repelled. Eventually pressure resulted in a penalty chance and James Mortimer converted to give Bedford a 3-0 lead. Kettering responded quickly and Joe Daniel levelled the scores with a penalty from in front of the posts. 3-3.
Ominously, the Ath were looking more fluid and the Blues were conceding turnovers, which gave the visitors the opportunity to build pressure, which eventually told the ever dangerous Woodhead adding the finishing touches to a concerted Bedford attack. Mortimers conversion stretched the lead and then he added a further penalty to open up a 10 point gap. 13-3.
Then the game was, to all intents and purposes over, as the Blues so solid defence wilted and Woodhead showed tremendous pace to run around and through the would be tacklers to score, and then straight from the kick-off Cassells did the same to take the visitors into the break with a 27-3 lead.
Kettering re-grouped at the break and should have scored early in the 2nd half as a series of assaults on the Ath line were repelled by desperate defence, and possibly some white line fever from the home side.
Having survived this pressure Bedford settled down and again asked serious questions of the home defence over the next 20 minutes. This time, however, Kettering we up to the challenge and it was they who eventually scored when, after another period of sustained pressure, Bruce Keir crossed for the only score of the half. Daniel converted to close the gap to 27-10, but despite their best efforts the home side could not add to their score and the visitors were well deserved winners on the day.
For their part, Kettering can be proud of their efforts in the second half, which once again saw them prevent the opposition from scoring a single point in the second period, and also stopped the visitors from gaining a 4 try bonus point, which could still have a significance at the end of the season. Indeed, the Blues have only conceded 14 points in total, in the second half of the all last 9 league games.
Clearly, they need to get their attacking game going again, and will be looking to do so in the coming weeks, as the season enters a crucial stage.

RAJ Man of the Match:

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Bedford Athletic 20 88
2. Syston 20 87
3. Kettering 20 80
4. Paviors 20 76
5. Old Northamptonians 20 64
6. Peterborough 20 64
7. Oundle 20 54

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