Belper maintained their push for promotion with a hard fought 31-3 win away at Long Eaton.
Belper went in to the game knowing it is crunch time in the league and they cannot afford any slip ups if they are to secure top spot.
And a gritty and organised performance saw Belper secure a bonus point win against a side they have not always fared well against away from home.
As expected the home side started well as they looked to use their hard running to break the Belper defence.
They had success through their fly-half, but the covering tackles kept the threat at bay.
The opening 20 minutes was the home side’s, but tough defending from Belper restricted them to a penalty kick close to the posts.
As the game grew older Belper came into it more and started to push territory.
From a line out on the left Belper’s forwards hit hard and Gaz Dakin thundered over close to the posts for the first try of the game, which Stones converted. Belper again pushed up field after the restart and won another line out close to the line.
Belper this time knocked on from the lineout, but the home side’s celebration was short-lived.
From the resulting scrum Belper powered Long Eaton off the ball. A walk over try was on the cards but for some reason Innocent decided to pop off to Naylor who beat his man to go over the line.
Belper scored again shortly after a break from captain Carter saw Dave Bacon held up just short.
But good support from Haines and York meant Belper had the numbers and York flopped over to score Belper’s third try for a 19-3 half-time lead.
Belper’s second half intention was to get the bonus try as soon as possible and stop any hope of a home comeback.
This was thwarted with fly-half Lowden seeing a yellow card for an offside decision.
Belper still created chances, but were let down by sloppy hands at the last moment.
The home side also had chances to break with their pacey attack, but the away defence held firm.
It took until the last part of the games before Belper managed to get the bonus point.
A good break down the left saw Mordue held up short. From the resulting ruck Roberts powered over to score.
With the game now over Belper added a fifth try though Dave Bacon after good hands set him free down the right.
With only three league games to go Belper are now seven points clear of the chasing pack and, after the results from the weekend, are all but secured at least second place.
Next week Belper travel to Bigham for the NLD semi-final before returing to league action the week after at home to Rolls Royce.