An outstanding Plymouth Albion performance helped them put away National League One leaders Rams on Saturday.
In conditions more akin to December than March, the opening minutes were slow as both sides exchanged scrums and penalties.
The away side broke through about a quarter of an hour in when Robbie Stapley bundled over after a line-out drive. Slight reprieve came when the conversion was out wide.
Rams’ lead lasted but a few minutes, Albion showing their own power from a line-out before Harry Wilkinson got it down. Tom Putt stepped up and saw his conversion bounce back off the post.
The hooker was soon at it again, another drive from the opposite side sending him over and nudging the hosts in front.
The lead was extended when Connor Eastgate played a simply sublime ball over to Kyle Speare, who did well to hold off a tackler before going over for the third of the day.
More ludicrous rugby saw the ball worked out superbly to Jon Dawe, who sprinted over for the bonus point.
Rams found a lifeline when Henry Bird ran through the middle, before Max Hayward eventually got the ball over the line.
The second period started slowly as Rams sought to find a way back into the game while Albion managed their advantage, and they had a chance to extend it through a penalty around 15 metres out. Connor Eastgate made no mistake in putting another three points on the board.
At the other end, Rams’ Jak Rossiter found his way over to bring the visitors back to within 10 and remind Ryan Lambs’ men, if they needed it, that the game was certainly not over yet.
Albion continued to control the game and frustrate Rams as a result, evidenced by Oliver Cole throwing the ball away and spending 10 minutes in the bin.
Niall Kidd would go over minutes from the end to make for a tense finish, but Albion repelled further waves of pressure to hold on for a fantastic victory.
Ramaz Rukhadze, Harry Wilkinson, Dan Pullinger, Dan Collier, Jake Clemson, Torin Clarke, George Mills, Herbie Stupple, Jack Oulton, Tom Putt, Kyle Speare, Connor Eastgate, Jeremy To’a, Jon Dawe, Craig Duncan
Replacements: Jamie Salter, Kye Beasley, Angus Hodges, Phil Jones, Frankie Nowell
Niall Kidd, Max Hayman, James Baker, Ollie Taylor, Dan Swain, James McRae, Vince Everitt, Robbie Stapley, Henry Bird, Jak Rossiter, Ellis Jones, Connor Hayhow, Axel Kalling-Smith, Rowan Groundy, Ollie Monye
Replacements: Ollie Moffitt, Sean McDonnelly-Roberts, Connor Stapley, Drew Humberstone, Ollie Cole