Bedfordshire County Cup Final – Biggleswade 0 Bedford Athletic 521st April 2018
Biggleswade lost in the final of the Bedfordshire County Cup to high-flying Bedford Athletic by 0-52. But Biggleswade were far from disgraced.
On their way to the final Bedford Athletic had scored nearly 180 points in matches against Stockwood Park and Luton. They had also beaten a side in their league by over hundred points.
So Biggleswade knew that they had a very tough ask on their hands but they played with considerable spirit. They did not help themselves by having three players in the bin at different times of the match although managed to yield very little in each ten minute period.
Up front it was a rare old tussle especially in the front row where Biggleswade’s captain Dom Nott had a mighty ding-dong with his opposite number. Eventually the referee lost patience with the pair of them and sent both to the bi to cool off when the game was in its final throes.
Earlier Jimmy Caulfield had been cited by one of the appointed touch judges for swinging a punch although he claimed he was the fall guy for a team mate. But “justice” was done when the miscreant was also binned for an alleged high tackle in the second half.
Biggleswade really lost the game in the three-quarters where slick passing by the Athletic backs created one scoring opportunity after another to keep the score-board ticking. The visitors recorded four tries in each half converting three in each period but they were never allowed to get soft points.
Biggleswade had several faces in the side with not many appearances under their belts this season. University students Matt Hill and Tom Flather made an appearance along with flanker Michael Kendall who has been side-lined for much of the season. The A team’s Sam Watson was also called up into the side as one of the seven replacements allowed for cup matches.
The game started with a dry pitch but constant rain throughout eventually had its impact and conditions were very difficult for the players by the end. The chilling wind did not help cutting through the rain drenched shirts with icy tentacles. When the final whistle went players and spectators fled for the warmth of the clubhouse with great alacrity.
Biggleswade were certainly on top in most of the scrums apart from when Bedford Ath dragged it round. As the ground became heavier clean possession was more difficult.
When the front row players were in the bin Biggleswade had to get a replacement prop on which met sacrificing a flanker. Liam Dunne was the unlucky player on both occasions which kept him fresher for the next time his tenacious tackling skills were needed.
The Ath chose centre Michael Hall as the player they felt had most impressed them. Unable to take the honour of the flying pint he nominated Michael Hall who might well have won the accolade anyway. There is nothing more satisfying in rugby than giving an opposition player a big hit which sees them hit the ground and temporarily winded. Haddow is certainly the master in that field.
Squad: Dom Nott, Sacha Heath, Shane Manning, Jimmy Caulfield, A J Burke, Shaun Munday, Gareth Rutt, Kyle Loan, Liam Dunne, Michael Kendall, Michael Haddow, Sam Watson, Zac Pates, Wade Allen, Luke Haverly, Alex Borg, Michael Hall, Matt Hill, Gavin Taylor, Tom Flather, Ieuan Evans, Eliot Tunstall.
Biggleswade return to league action with the first of the three final ties. First up are the league leaders who have only lost once and drawn once. It will be tough call after all the exertions of this week-end but they were beaten at home last season by the Biggy Boys.