Matt Calladine scored two tries as Bedford Blues slipped to a shock 39-31 defeat against a Rotherham Titans side who ended their seven-game losing run in the Championship.
Rotherham head coach Justin Burnell got the perfect start from his first league game in charge as the South Yorkshire club also scored their first try-scoring bonus point since October and took a significant step towards ruling out the risk of relegation.
Clearly confident after their B&I Cup win over Ealing in their previous outing, Rotherham started brightly and had secured two converted tries via Lloyd Hayes and Calladine’s first before the 11th minute as the playoff-chasing Blues failed to deal with their struggling opponents.
It was Bedford who had opened the scoring with a Jake Sharp penalty and he converted when Sharp’s smart chip was gathered by winger Dean Adamson for a well-worked try.
Calladine benefitted again after a driving maul as Rotherham went in 19-10 ahead at the interval, and Toby Salmon broke off another maul early in the second period to claim that bonus point.
Will Goodwin improved the score again and then converted his own solo try as the hosts unpicked the Bedford defence yet again for a 33-10 lead.
Bedford hit back with a swift double blast from Michael Le Bourgeois and Dean Adamson, each converted.
Goodwin slotted two penalties, however, to end any fears of suffering a collapse, Bedford’s Miles Howard getting their final bonus point try.
Bedford Blues: S Jones; Tapley, Le Bourgeois, Dodge (Staff 60), Adamson; Sharp (Dorrian 61), Burns; Lundberg (Parilli-Ocampo 46), James (Clare 46), Boulton, Latta (Blanchet 46), Wells (Howard 46), Tupai, Buggea, Conlon. Unused replacement: White.