Bedford Blues returned to winning ways on Saturday as they defeated the Cornish Pirates 54-46 in a 100-point thriller at Goldington Road.
A hat-trick of tries from the in-form Dean Adamson and one each for George Perkins, Harry Wells, Michael Le Bourgeois, Paul Tupai and Henry Taylor secured a very important win for the Blues to lift them eight points clear in the play-off places over Jersey.
Bedford went in to the game knowing that a bonus point victory over the Pirates would give their play-off hopes a huge boost with only two games remaining of the Championship campaign.
But it was the Pirates who started off the better of the two sides as they took the lead in the fifth minute through an unconverted try from Tom Riley.
Cornish Pirates carried on applying the pressure to the Blues defence and they went over for a second try just seven minutes later. Jack Innard failed to hit a Pirates player in the line out but the ball still made its way in to the path of Tom Duncan who was sent crashing over from a driving maul before Will Cargill added the conversion to make it 12-0.
Bedford looked to respond, and intense pressure from the Blues earned them a scrum which set the stage for Tupai to break with the ball before offloading it to Taylor who side stepped the Pirates defence before dotting the ball down. Sharp added the extras.
The Blues took the lead shortly afterwards through Le Bourgeois. Tom Griffiths broke with the ball before playing in Le Bourgeois who darted over the line before Sharp sent the ball over the uprights to make it 14-12.
The Pirates took a setback when Matt Evans was sent to the sinbin for a deliberate knock on to stop Adamson in his tracks on the Blues attack.
The following lineout saw the Blues forwards set up a dangerous driving maul, which sent Tupai crashing over with the ball and allowing Sharp to add the conversion to make it 21-12.
The Pirates were awarded a penalty in the 30th minute which Will Cargill sent over, but the Blues bounced back almost immediately from the restart.
Bedford broke with the ball before Tom Griffiths lured in the last two defenders before shipping it out wide to Adamson who went over for an unconverted try.
Bedford looked in control at this stage of the first half but the Pirates had other ideas as they ran in two well-worked tries before half-time.
Matt Evans went over with the ball almost straight after returning to the field and Alex O’Meara followed suit just three minutes after when he swooped in to steal possession from the Blues in their own 22 before dotting the ball down. Cargill added the conversion to take the Cornish Pirates in to the break with a 26-29 lead.
The Pirates came out after half-time in search of another try and it took just 60 seconds for Joe Atkinson to do exactly that, but Cargill failed to add the extras.
Bedford looked to have been left startled from the quick fire attack but they responded shortly afterwards. Steffan Jones found himself in possession before sending an inch-perfect grubber kick through to Adamson who went crashing over for his second of the day and Sharp converted to make it 33-34.
The Blues went in search for their sixth try of the afternoon and it came through Perkins. The Pirates were enjoying a reasonable amount of time on the ball in attack but they knocked on.
The following scrum saw Perkins go crashing over before Sharp sent the conversion over with ease.
Adamson was in search of his hat-trick try and it came just shy of the hour mark. Sharp broke with the ball as he charged straight for the line before he unselfishly offloaded the ball to Adamson who darted down the wing before dotting down to set the stage for Sharp who sent the conversion over to make it 47-34.
The Blues looked in complete control of the game at this stage as they extended their lead once again. Tupai went hurtling for the line but he was stopped short, however Harry Wells swooped in at the breakdown to regain possession before the second row went crashing over, allowing Dorrian to add the extras.
The Pirates looked to respond but it was too late to cause any danger for the Blues. Tom Riley went over for an unconverted try and it was shortly followed by a terrific solo run from Alex Cheesman who broke down the wing to go over with the ball in the dying seconds of the match to make it 54-46, with Cargill adding one last conversion.
Bedford put in a huge performance to secure the victory against the Pirates to keep their play-off dreams alive. The Blues have a week off next week before travelling to Doncaster Knights on the April 16.
Bedford Blues: Jones (Staff 73), Perkins, Le Bourgeois, Griffiths, Adamson, Sharp (Dorrian 68), Taylor (Burns 53), Williams (Lundberg 53), Clare (James 57), Boulton (Currie 53), Howard (Wells 60), Flanagan, Blanchet, Buggea, Tupai
Cornish Pirates: Evans, O’Meara, Riley, Dancer (Holland 55), Moyle, Cargill (Hallett 55), Day (Pope 49), Gendall, Innard, Andrew (Walker 49), Parker, Graulich, Bolwell (Simmonds 61), Atkinson (Cheeseman 75), Duncan
Referee: Greg MacDonald