Bedford Tigers lifted the East Rugby League Cup by beating rivals Hemel Stags 22-16 on Saturday.
It was the third time the Tigers have faced the Stags in as many weeks and this triumph ensured a hat-trick of victories having won the previous two clashes 24-22 and 26-24.
In a close first 40 minutes, it was Bedford who took an early advantage, with Ed Strand and Paul Ryder going over.
Player-coach Rob Ashton converted the second score to put Tigers 10-0 in front.
However, in the closing minutes of the first period, Bedford’s indiscipline helped Hemel set up some pressure, which they took full advantage of to cross the line twice and close the gap to 12-10 at the interval.
The Stags went on to enjoy long periods of pressure in the second period and were rewarded for their dominance with their third try of the afternoon which saw them take the lead for the first time, as they moved 16-10 in front.
Tigers rallied in the closing stages though and produced a stirring rally as Matt Jones notched his side’s third try of the game as they to make it 16-14.
Sam Richbell then crashed over to put the Tigers 18-16 ahead and Ashton converted to make it 20-16.
He then gave Bedford some real breathing space by adding a penalty in the last few minutes, as Tigers lifted the trophy aloft.
Tigers are back in East Men’s League Premier Division action this weekend when they host NH Crusaders at 3pm.
Bedford go into the game on the back of six straight league wins, which has propelled them to the top of the table, while Crusaders have only enjoyed one victory in their six games this term.
Bedford Tigers A are also at home, as they entertain North Herts Knights in their East Men’s League Entry Division clash.