Bees coach Henno Venter praised the battling spirit and ferocious tackling shown by his players as they lost out to an experienced Ampthill side.
The visitors may have had the stand-out players in former Tongan World Cup hooker Viliami Ma’Asi and England Sevens star Kevin Barrett at scrum-half, but at times they were left reeling from their tireless hosts and two tries in the final quarter were just reward for a battling Bees display.
“We tested them where we could but it shows you that a good side just doing the basics really well can be successful,” Venter said.
“They went through a lot of phases and did the line-outs and scrums really well and that’s how they got their tries.
“There are boys in that side who have played Test rugby for their country and their experience came through in tough times. Size was definitely on their side but we didn’t hold back and tackled well. We tried our best but just came up short against a well-organised side.”
Even with the blustery conditions at their backs in the first half, Bees struggled early on against the title hopefuls.
Back-row pair Joe Bercis and Bradley Scharff muscled their way over from close range before centre Brendan Burke ran in a third try for Ampthill, the only one converted by Joe Tarrant.
It was Tarrant who then gave the visitors the perfect start to the second half and his conversion steered them into a 24-0 lead.
But the arrival of Venter on the hour appeared to calm the home side down and they began to create chances of their own.
Skipper Chris Goddard was driven over and although Lee Anker added a fifth try for the Bedfordshire side, it was Bees who had the final say when second-row Solomon Dacres weaved his way through for a fine solo score, Adam Canning kicking the two conversions.