Rotherham Titans triumphed for the fourth time this season against Bedford who must be sick and tired of being beaten by the Clifton Lane men.
However, it was their first win at Goldington Road since November 2006.
Rotherham’s victory, their 15th in the Championship in 20 games, was particularly satisfying because it was earned in the face of adversity.
The Titans began the second half with only 13 men following yellow cards against forwards Dan Sanderson and Tom Cruse towards the end of the opening period.
This handicap should have boosted Bedford who ought to have overcome a first half deficit of 13-9.
Instead, they failed with Rotherham’s defence exceptionally solid. With the Titans continuing to attack and make inroads into Bedford’s territory, it was not surprising that the Blues added only three points when their opponents were understrength.
Rotherham’s character and team spirit were outstanding, and given the amount of ball the pack won, it was not surprising that the earlier try by hooker Cruse was followed by second half scores from flanker Ali Birch and Sanderson on 60 and 71 minutes.
Their efforts were fully supported by centre Juan Pablo Socino who put over 18 points..three conversions and four penalties and in the process passed 300 points in all competitions this season.
Rotherham’s victory takes them to 70 points in the Championship table and keeps them in the top four, very much on course to contest the promotion play-offs with games remaining against Cornish Pirates, Leeds and Ealing.
Birch’s try was his third in successive league games and he said: “I’m thrilled because Bedford is a difficult place to play at with a hostile crowd and the slope of the pitch.
“When we were down to 13, we stuck together and managed the game well. What was really good was we took our chances when they came up.”
Titans’ coach Lee Blackett, who now looks ahead to Friday’s quarter-final clash at Bristol in the British and Irish Cup, praised the result and performance but was slightly disappointed with one aspect.
“We were frustrated not to get over the line for a fourth try and the bonus point. We left a point out there.
“I was annoyed with our indiscipline in the first half, but to go and win when you are down to 13 for a few minutes is quite something.
“I believe this is a special group of players and they fully deserve to be in the top four.”
Sanderson, made Man of the Match by Sky who were covering Rotherham for the second time this season, injured his ankle but it is too soon to say whether he will miss Friday’s Cup game.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Broadley, Roberts, Socino, Keating, Murphy, Mulchrone, Hislop, Cruse, Quigley, Hollmes, Sanderson,, Birch, Preece, Rieder.
Scorers:Tries:Cruse, Birch, Sanderson. Conversions:Socino 3. Penalties: Socino 4.