With a display of grit and determination being shown by both sides, Bedford Academy beat Saracens Academy 22-17 at Goldington Road in a quality game of rugby.
Ahead by 8 points to 7 at half-time, the Blues took a 22-12 lead midway through the second half, before outstanding defence held out a Saracens comeback until the last play of the game.
Playing up the slope, Bedford took an early lead with a driving maul from a lineout 15m from the Saracens line, touched down by flanker Joe Brock.
Saracens hit back shortly after as they pinned Bedford in their own 22 and were rewarded with a try from their centre, which was converted to give them a 7-5 lead.
The half remained a tight affair, but the Blues gained the lead just before half-time with a well taken penalty from scrum-half Tom Whiteley to go in at half-time 8-7 ahead.
Saracens opened the second half with real intensity and scored after three minutes with a close-range try from their scrum-half.
Bedford hit back with two well worked tries within five minutes; a set scum was won on the left and Whiteley and centre Cameron Gregory-Ring combined to put centre Aaron Martin in for a try, before full-back Ben Meaden scored soon afterwards to put his side 22-12 ahead.
Saracens came back at the Blues and, for the last 10 minutes of the game, pressurised the Bedford line.
The Blues defence was outstanding and held out until the last play of the game when Saracens put in a cross-field kick for the right winger to touch down in the corner.
The conversion was missed and full-time was blown to give Bedford a 22-17 win.
Bedford Academy director of rugby Denis Ormesher said: “This was really good performance in parts. Our set piece worked well and when we stuck to the game plan we looked strong.
“There are a number of things we still need to fix in our game; our game management and decision making, whilst improving, still has some way to go.
“Our defence in the last quarter was outstanding. The old cliché of ‘defence wins games’ was proven yet again. The boys held out against a strong come back.”
Ormesher added: “This was a strong team performance from the whole squad.
“I don’t normally like to pick out individuals but Felix Maddison, captaining the side in his last game before going to Australia next week, was outstanding from his pre-match talk to his last ditch tackles at the end of the game. He has been a real asset to the squad this season and will be missed.
“We have one further game before the Christmas break, when we are away to Shelford U21 in two week’s time - Wednesday, December 17, kick-off 7.30pm.”