Doncaster Knights will go into Saturday’s final Championship game at Plymouth Albion still in with a chance of finishing in the top eight.
But they will need to beat the Devon club, who were condemned to National One rugby at the weekend, and rely on second-bottom Moseley beating Jersey on their travels.
A bonus point against Bedford Blues in their final home game of the season would have helped Knights’ cause. Should it prove crucial in the final analysis they will doubtless look back on their failure to turn chances into a fourth try in this win at Castle Park.
To a man, the club have argued that they are a better side than their league position for most of the campaign has suggested.
As such they would love to claim eighth spot, if not that then at least hang on to the ninth spot they currently hold after exchanging places with the Blues.
Knights had only won two of their previous home games in the Championship – a record they will need to address before next season – but started brightly and could have grabbed an early try had centre Mat Clark taken Ume Fosita’s long pass.
But a lengthy stoppage following an injury to prop James Currie – the second Bedford forward to go off injured in the first five minutes – served to knock them out of their stride.
Their earlier efforts were rewarded, however, when flanker Latu Makaafi touched down for an 11th-minute try, converted by Dougie Flockhart, after breaking off from a driving maul.
Knights, for whom long-serving prop Tom Davies was making his final home appearance, carved out another couple of chances but all they had to show for their efforts was a penalty from Flockhart.
Bedford deserved credit for the way they stuck to their task following their injury woes, but it was against the run of play when wing Dean Adamson crossed for a converted try on 37 minutes.
Knights wing Tyson Lewis rounded off a good move with a try in the corner three minutes after the restart.
Bedford, down to 14 men at the time, closed to 15-14 with a 51st-minute converted try.
A second penalty from Flockhart and a typical try from Matt Challinor saw Knights lead 25-14.
But Bedford rallied and a late try by captain Nick Fenton-Wells earned them a losing bonus point and gave the home side a few anxious moments.
Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Flockhart, Clark, Armitage, Lewis; Fosita (Roberts 73), Field (Palu 67); Tom Davies (Bergmanas 73) Thacker (Hunter 53), John (Quigley 53), Challinor, Hotson, Makaafi (Eggleshaw 55), Hills, Stedman.
Bedford Blues: Jones; Tapley, Staff, Le Bourgeois, Adamson; Sharp (Baden 63), Baldwin (Veenewndaal 63); Parilli-Ocampo (Williams 68), Clare (Harris 58), Currie (Boulton 5), Howard, Wells, Blanchet (Tupai 2), Fenton-Wells, Thompson-Stringer.
Referee: D Proctor.
Toulon beat Leinster 25-20 after extra-time in the European Champions Cup semi-final in Marseille. They will meet Clermont Auvergne in the final after they defeated Saracens 13-9.