Winger Duncan Taylor scored a fine hat-trick as Bedford laboured to a 31-18 victory over Birmingham & Solihull at Damson Park on Sunday.
The Blues were far from their best in a scrappy contest but they came through to claim a much needed bonus point win.
Taylor scored twice in the opening half as Bedford rarely threatened with the hosts being the better team but will rue some missed chances.
Bedford were much improved in the second-half and got the bonus point late on when Taylor went over for his third.
After squeezing past London Welsh last week, it was crucial for Bedford to back it up and keep in touch with leaders Worcester and they did so with a gritty performance.
The Blues were handed a boost prior to the match with the return of Taylor from injury while Sacha Harding captained the side in the absence of James Pritchard, who was rested.
There were also several other changes made with director of rugby Mike Rayer looking to rotate and give his players chance to rest in the middle of a hectic schedule.
The hosts wasted no time in pouring towards the Bedford line and opened the scoring with a Marc Woodrow penalty after two minutes although the Blues responded immediately.
Straight from the restart Bedford won the ball and Jake Sharp’s clever kick fell kindly for the returning Duncan Taylor to just squeeze himself over in the corner.
Sharp narrowly missed the conversion to leave his side leading 5-3.
That try should have sparked Bedford into life but it was the Championship’s bottom side who were next to score just a minute later.
The Blues’ defence opened up leaving gaping holes for the Bees to exploit and John Brake did just that as he ripped apart the visiting defence to bundle his way over for an 8-5 lead.
It continued to be a frantic start to the match and again Bedford leveled the scores when Jake Sharp converted a simple penalty.
Eventually the game did begin to settle down but Bedford were still making numerous mistakes and their defence was uncharacteristically sloppy.
In contrast, the Bees looked confident and were playing with the flair that you would not expect to find from a side struggling for form.
They constantly attacked with intent and were rewarded with a Woodrow penalty before they registered their second try.
The hosts worked hard to overturn possession and some good, quick hands allowed Benbee to gallop into the empty space and run through unchallenged to extend their lead to 18-8.
Bedford continued make costly errors but they did reduce the deficit during a rare attack.
After some good possession deep inside the Bees’ half, Bedford worked the ball out wide for Taylor to barge his way over.
A terrific kick from Sharp followed by another penalty brought Bedford level.
And, despite being second best, they somehow took a lead into the break with another penalty.
Both sides kept making errors into the second-half but Bedford slowly began to assert their authority and as a result scored their third try.
Having won a penalty in front of the posts, Bedford decided to kick for the corner and that decision was justified when Will Chudley produced a precise pass out wide for Edd Thrower to score.
It seemed that Bedford had finally found their feet as they bossed the remainder of the game.
Birmingham made their task even harder on 50 minutes when Nglau Tau was sin binned but the referee evened it up two minutes later as Mike Howard was also yellow carded.
Bedford had to withstand a sustained period of pressure from the Bees late on but eventually recorded their fourth try.
Chudley took a quick tap penalty and Taylor received the ball out wide before bundling his way over.
It wrapped a hard-fought win for an under-par Bedford as the result keeps the Blues in reach of leaders Worcester.
Bees: Rob Dugard, Ross McMillan, Nglau Tau (c) (Mauro Sperandio 78), Rob Connolly, Adrian Griffiths, Mike Denbee, Jack Preece, Jack Bentall (Adam Clayton 61), John Brake (Rod Petty 67), Mark Woodrow, Mitch Culpin, Will Lawson, Ed Binham (Ben Barkley 40 (Ollie Winter 75)), Simon Hunt (Tomasi Tanumi 78), Tom Foden. Replacement not used: Joe Reid
Blues: Laurence Ovens (Sam Walsh 58), Chris Locke (Paul Tupai 66), Phil Boulton, Mike Howard (Dan Richmond 66), Sean Tomes (Gregor Gillanders 70_, Alex Rae, Sacha Harding (c), Chris Goodman, Will Chudley (Darryl Veenendaal 80), Jake Sharp (Myles Dorrian 70), Duncan Taylor, Ian Vass (Tom Bedford 66), Brendan Burke, Handre Schmidt, Edd Thrower
Referee: Mike Tutty
Star Blue: Duncan Taylor – Returning from injury he was dangerous throughout scoring a fine hat-trick