Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash between Syston and Bedford Athletic had all the drama you might expect from such an important game, with Syston agonisingly missing out by just one point.
The final score of 25-24 consolidated Bedford’s place the top of the Midlands One East League, but second placed Syston pushed them all the way, outscoring their hosts on tries. For the visitors it was a classic case of so close yet so far.
In a contest between two very evenly matched teams, it was Bedford who were the first to get into their stride, scoring two tries to build up a 12 point lead at the mid point of the first half.
After the early setbacks Syston forced their way back into the game and through a series of mauls they put increasing pressure on the home defence. That pressure finally paid off when they went over for a try, the subsequent conversion seeing them go in at half time trailing 12-7.
After the break, Syston continued to dominate play and more pressure from the visitors’ forwards culminated in hooker Craig Lockington going over to level the scores 12-12.
Parity was shortlived, however, with Josh Cassell crossing for his second try of the day, and the hosts’ third, soon after. The conversation saw Bedford take a 19-12 lead but once again Syston hit back through Lockington, bagging his second try. also converted to tie the scores at 19-19.
A penalty eased Bedford into a three point lead and their position looked even stronger when Syston’s Joseph Knowles-Lorriman was sinbinned for an elbowing offence.
However, Syston had other ideas and scored a bonus point try through Ian Smith to move into a 24-22 lead, with just over 20 minutes remaining.
But it was a lead they were unable to hold on to as a penalty on 65 minutes ultimately secured victory for Bedford by the narrowest of margins.