Rugby League Conference East Division Bedford Tigers 27 St Ives Roosters 42 A CONFIDENT performance from Roosters secured a home semi-final draw in the Eastern Division play-off. Bedford Tigers, the regular season champions, had already secured their pos
Rugby League Conference East Division
Bedford Tigers 27 St Ives Roosters 42
A CONFIDENT performance from Roosters secured a home semi-final draw in the Eastern Division play-off.
Bedford Tigers, the regular season champions, had already secured their position at the top of the league before this game, but this was a morale-boosting win nevertheless.
Tigers were unbeaten at home for more than two years before this game as Roosters ripped up the form book to overtake Greenwich Admirals.
A tense game was enlivened by Saints opening the scoring after four minutes through James Shearman - the Roosters man crossed under the posts after good movement from the visitors. Michael Sykes converted.
Roosters shrugged off conceding a drop goal to move further ahead through a slice of good fortune involving the Paxton brothers.
John was fortunate to collect his own charged-down kick ahead and off-loaded to brother Charles who in turn set up Tom Quegan to score under the posts.
John Paxton then scored a brilliant individual try, which Sykes converted to put Saints into an 18-1 lead, though Bedford pulled this back to 18-13 at half-time.
An individual try from Ross Thompson early in the second half kept the momentum with Roosters - Sykes converted Thompson's brutal effort that saw him cross with four home players hanging off him.
Jack Blackley was next to make a break, setting up Michael Drake to feed Sykes, and in turn, Quegan to score his second try of the match.
Bedford again came back through Jamie Stead but a try from veteran Rooster Andy Dean virtually sealed the match at 36-17.
A converted try from the home side punished Roosters for trying to run down the clock but a strong break gave John Paxton his second score of the game.
Bedford prop Stuart Riding managed to ground the ball after wriggling out of a tackle to make the final score 42-27.
Roosters will host Greenwich Admirals at St Ives RFC in the play-off semi-final this Saturday. Kick off at Somersham Road is at 2.30pm. The winners of the game will travel to Bedford for the final.
* John Paxton and Michael Sykes represented the south of England on Sunday in their 46-4 victory against an RAF 'A' side, at RAF Uxbridge.