Mike Rayer was delighted with how far his Bedford Blues squad have improved after getting so close to ending Bristol’s unbeaten run on Boxing Day at Goldington Road.
Despite the 24-28 defeat, the Blues can be proud of a performance that earned them two losing bonus points and showed the rest of the Championship what this side is capable of.
Director of rugby Rayer said: “We’re pleased with the two bonus points, although we’re obviously disappointed we couldn’t get the win.
“But for us to be saying that is quite a remarkable turnaround from the start of the season.
‘It was important we got those points and I thought we were tenacious when we had to be – it’s a hugely impressive side they’ve put together and I thought our guys were manful, we showed a bucketful of character in scoring a great try at the end.”
Tries from James Pritchard, Harry Wells and Dean Adamson in the first half meant Bedford were leading 17-7 at the interval, and were deserving of that too.
However a strong second half by Andy Robinson’s side meant Bristol stretched into a 17-28 lead, but a last minute score by Pat Tapley meant the Blues were able to claim two bonus points in a valiant defeat.
“It wasn’t a great day to be playing through a lot of phases but we’ve had Darryl (Veenendaal) sniping down the blindside and Pritch finishing his try.
“I also thought Dean Adamson was outstanding today as much with his try as he was with his defensive work where he saved two tries in the second half.
“He probably epitomised what we were about and the challenge for us is to do it next week at Moseley and then against Doncaster and Rotherham.
“When you set certain standards you’ve got to keep them.”
Bedford currently sit in 10th position in the Championship table, with 17 points from their opening nine games of the league campaign.
Next up for Rayer’s side is an important trip to ninth-placed Moseley on Saturday, who have also amassed 17 points thus far.