Bedford Athletic finished 2015 with their 23rd win in 27 matches as they secured a 50 points to nil win at Bugbrooke.
The star of the show was undoubtedly James Mortimer as he accumulated a try, a penalty and six conversions for a total of 20 points which took him past 1,000 career points for the first XV.
Bedford Athletic started the game by over complicating matters, resulting in several dropped balls and wasted possession.
However, they steadied themselves with a series of driving mauls from lineouts and this brought the first try, touched down by Nick Thomas on five minutes.
Mortimer’s conversion kick was incorrectly disallowed but he soon made up for it as, from the kick-off, he released the visiting backs with Charlie Darlow, Josh Cassell and Stephen Woodhead all combining for Woodhead to score the second try two minutes later – this time safely converted by Mortimer.
Woodhead turned provider in the 12th minute as he broke the line, and it was Darlow who was in support to touch down for the third try. Mortimer again successful with the conversion.
Mortimer hit the post with a penalty in the 19th minute but Athletic were quickest to react, with Tom Orton feeding Mortimer for the fourth and bonus point try; his first try in over two years, which he himself converted.
On 24 minutes the visitors turned the ball over deep in their own half and counter attacked at speed, with Woodhead eventually finishing the fifth try of the day in the right hand corner.
A tight hamstring then forced him to leave the fray and it was Josh Cassell who broke clear to score the next try on 33 minutes, with Mortimer converting both efforts; the latter taking him past the 1,000-point mark.
Mortimer’s contribution to the first half was still not complete and he kicked a penalty with the final play of the half to extend the half-time lead to 43-0.
Playing with the wind in the second half, Bugbrooke emerged with greater vigour and purpose as Tom Wood distributed well from scrum half and direct running from centre Adrian Flynn carried the game to the visitors.
Despite almost constant pressure in the first 10 minutes of the half, the visiting defence – well marshalled by captain Rob Watkins on his 100th appearance for the club – held out.
The rising penalty count against the visitors was something of a mystery but eventually it was no surprise that prop Jay Bolton received a yellow card late in what had become quite a disjointed half.
There was, however, late reward for Athletic when in desperation Bugbrooke ran the ball from deep at the end of the game, with Cassell intercepting and streaking away for the final try under the posts which Mortimer converted for a 50-0 winning margin.
Bedford Athletic head into a well-earned Christmas break top of the table and leading Derby by seven points, which means it will be an exciting start to 2016 when Derby visit Putnoe Woods on January 9.