The Army Rugby Union's preparations for the Inter Services suffered a blow as they fell to defeat in the Mobbs Memorial match against Bedford Blues.
The military side faced a difficult opposition in the Championship outfit, but the game was in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs.
The former England captain, who was also a former Bedford player, was killed in action during the First World War and has been commemorated in an annual fixture for the past 98 years.
It was the Blues who started well. A swift counter-attack led to Patrick Tapley going over for a try which was converted comfortably by Harry Sheppard.
The Army have just returned from a warm weather trip to Portugal, but had to battle the cold at Goldington Road to get back into the game.
Junior Bulumakau's terrific running meant he could sprint through to get the Army on the scoresheet.
Bedford are currently sitting fourth in the Championship and pulled ahead thanks to two classy tries which took the score to 19-7.
Ifrereimi Boladau kept the Army challenge strong with a well-taken try, but Ed Coulson's second try of the night for Bedford meant the Army were behind by 12 points at half-time.
The second half was Bedford's time to shine. Coulson and Tapley both grabbed their hat tricks, but the Army hit back with two tries of their own.
Tom Chennell and Tony Lawless converted, but the score meant a 52-31 defeat at the end of the night.
With the RAF looming at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium, the Army have lessons to learn from the loss to a very strong opponent.