Bedford Athletic produced a performance of skill, strength and determination to defeat Market Rasen & Louth 30-0 in Lincolnshire.
It was the heaviest home defeat for the hosts since September 2011 since when they have become renowned as one of the toughest places to visit in the league.
Athletic kicked off down the slope but against the wind, and in a very open first quarter of an hour they succeeded in dominating territory with a running game.
Eventually Rob Watkins turned the ball over at a ruck and Athletic moved the ball to the opposite side of the field, allowing Charlie Reed to sprint round the cover and cross for the first try of the day on 14 minutes.
James Mortimer, having hit a post with an earlier penalty, slotted the conversion.
Market Rasen responded immediately and won a penalty of their own which was nudged wide.
Mortimer kicked a penalty on 24 minutes and every time that the home siadded a second on the stroke of half-time that extended the Athletic lead to 13-0 at the break.
Playing with the wind in the second half, Athletic immediately made their intentions clear with long raking kicks.
Mortimer kicked another penalty on 43 minutes as the visitors maintained their intensity, and the next penalty won close to the hosts’ tryline was then kicked to touch.
Several phases of play later, a Bedford rolling maul was driven over the line with Ryan Taylor touching down to score –Mortimer converting for a convincing 23-0 lead.
When Market Rasen did have the ball, their attacking threat was snuffed out by strong midfield defence from Tommy Mills and Paul Ryder, with the back row led by captain Watkins always a threat at the breakdown and in loose play.
Eventually another catch and drive opportunity allowed Luke Levitt to show the strength to drive over for the third try on 64 minutes, with Mortimer again converting.
From the kick-off both Levitt and Mortimer were on the wrong side of the referee, Levitt earning a yellow card for a deliberate offside and Mortimer joining him in the sin bin for dissent.
A reduction to 13 men hampered Athletics’ cause for a try bonus point, although they still looked the more likely team to score and Stefan Hughes-Brand was adjudged to have performed a double movement in going for that bonus point try.
Market Rasen elected to kick a penalty at the death, but they hit the post and the visitors’ win was secure.