Head coach Liam Middleton thrilled by Bristol Rugby's victory at Bedford
LIAM Middleton believes Bristol's hugely impressive victory at Bedford can act as a major spur during their bid to not only reach the Championships play-offs but finish higher than fourth.
Bristol made it five wins in a row and 11 in their last 12 games as they inflicted only a second home defeat of the season on second-placed Bedford, beating the Blues 18-6 at Goldington Road.
It was also Bristol's fifth successive win over Bedford and maintained Middleton's unbeaten record over the perennial Championship high-flyers since he became head coach in 2011.
Bristol delivered the finest performance and result of the season, denying their hosts a try, scoring two of their own and being held up over the line on a further two occasions as they bossed proceedings from start to finish.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
With third-placed Nottingham – whose position Bristol are now very much eyeing – visiting the Memorial Stadium on Friday, Middleton's recent assertion that his side are about to hit peak form appears justified.
"I've been saying for three or four weeks that we're coming into form – but it's a week by week thing," said Middleton.
"The next game is another big challenge and we'll savour this win and soak it up, but when we get back to work on Monday, it's about looking forward and proving ourselves again.
"To not concede a try away from home in any game is difficult – but to lock out Bedford on their pitch when the sun is out is a fantastic achievement from our players. Plus to score two tries and have two held up over the line really showed our dominance in the game.
"I think we've got something really good here to reference in our next few games."
Whether or not Bristol's win at Goldington Road proves to be decisive will be confirmed in the coming weeks – but there could have been few more challenging tests of their recent resurgence than a trip to the team in second place in the table.
And Middleton's players, with everyone delivering but hooker Ross Johnston and flanker Marco Mama particularly impressive, produced the goods to secure their first away win this season against a team in the top half of the Championship.
"Both the performance and the result were exactly what we asked for," said Middleton. "What was really important, and what was really evident, was that the guys had real clarity on what they needed to do and they just needed to work at it. And they worked hard in attack, they worked hard in defence – and that's got to be the basis of our game.
"I would describe as very much a team – I think every player got as close to their best as they could do on the day."
Regarding his own unbeaten record against Bedford as head coach, Middleton said: "I do enjoy coaching against them – I get more excited on the morning of the game when it's Bedford than anyone else, so it's great to get another win."
Despite the suited-and-booted presence of director of rugby Andy Robinson, who joined the club on Friday, the head coach was in no way undermined.
He selected the team and coached them on the day – and felt any suggestions that the players raised their game because of Robinson's presence would be unfair on him, his coaching team and players.
"I think it would be a discredit – we prepared well all week for this," said Middleton. "Andy's got a lot of value to add to what we're doing, and I think we'll see that value in the coming months.
"At the moment he's been sitting in the background and seeing what we do, but he'll certainly add value in the coming months, without a doubt."