National Two South

Lydney 19

THE thickness of the Regentsholme posts came to Lydney's rescue as they almost threw away a game they controlled throughout.

Leading 19-5 with just two minutes to play, the Severnsiders conceded two tries in an anxious finale. Launceston's Jake Murphy landed one conversion from wide out, but failed with the other by the narrowest of margins – striking the upright with the final kick of the match.

With Southend, Bournemouth and Dings all winning, Lydney could hardly afford to let this win slip from their grasp.

They went into the match on the back of two heavy away drubbings at Worthing and Redruth, but their starting side had a better look to it, with the returning Tony Wicks and Will Jones extremely influential. There was also a debut for centre Tom Llewellyn following his recent switch from Berry Hill.

The talented Wicks has been Lydney's best back for a couple of seasons and he controlled the match at fly-half, putting the Cornish All Blacks under severe pressure with his kicking from hand. The visitors struggled woefully against the up-and-under, repeatedly dropping high balls in dangerous positions. It led to frustration and unforced errors in other parts of their game.

Launceston attacked from the kick-off and were only denied a try by some tenacious Lydney defending at a 5m scrum and a vital try-saving tackle down the blindside by Charlie Daniell.

Slowly, the hosts got into game, with the forwards leading the way. A strong driving maul won a 14th penalty which Wicks booted over with a clean strike.

Wicks slotted two further penalties as Launceston conceded a string of penalties. At times, the visitors were all over the place defensively as Wicks either kicked behind them or high in front of them. It was a steepling Wicks up-and-under that led to Lydney's only try.

Full-back Lloyd made a complete hash of catching the ball in the shadow of his own posts and Lydney's giant centre Danny Chiu was quickly up to pounce on the loose ball and crash over. Wicks's conversion made it 16-0 at half-time. Launceston were pumped up for the start of the second half and scored a try within a minute of the restart.

Prop Tim Mathias burst through two weak tackles, then some clever interplay by the backs in a confined space released winger Yeo to the line.

Wicks blotted his copybook by missing a relatively easy penalty, but made amends on 56 minutes after more good work by the home pack.

The Severnsiders never do things the easy way and were hanging on during the final quarter. They did well to repel Launceston's pack at a series of 5m scrums, although they lost Tai Lakabuka to the sin-bin in the process. Eventually, lock Ben Hilton burst through wide out three minutes from time, with Murphy converting.

Despite winning the restart some naive play gifted possession back to the visitors and they capitalised with a breakway score by flying replacement Martin Kneebone in the corner.

Everything hinged on the conversion, but this was Lydney's day – albeit by the width of the Regentsholme posts. By such margins, however, teams stay up or get relegated.