By Liam Moakes Monday 10 September 2012 Updated: 10/09 15:43
WOODRUSH emerged as deserving 28-27 winners of a thrilling encounter against Cheltenham North at Icknield Street on Saturday, but it could have been so different had the visitors not missed a gilt-edged chance to secure the win in the dying moments.
The hosts had enjoyed the better of the match but the visitors - relegated into Midlands Three West (South) - fought hard and would have surely claimed victory had they not missed a conversion from virtually under the posts as the match entered its dying embers.
Woodrush started well with a Steve Smart penalty and a well worked try from second row Mark Buckey but, against the run of play, Cheltenham notched a penalty themselves and went through in the corner to level the score.
A great turn of speed from Smart opened a gap and he scored under the posts before adding the conversion and then winger Lucas Hooper rounded his man to score in the corner to give Woodrush a 20-8 lead.
This did not last long though and, on the stroke of half time, Cheltenham narrowed the gap to 20-15 with a try under the posts which they converted.
The visitors went into the lead for the first time in the game early in the second half when they caught the Woodrush backs napping and crashed over, adding the conversion to lead 22-20.
Smart restored the Woodrush lead with a penalty and then bagged his second try but missed the conversion to make it 28-22.
Cheltenham came straight back and appeared to have sealed victory with just three minutes remaining with their own fourth try of the game, virtually under the posts, but the kick was pushed wide to everyone's amazement and Woodrush clung on to the their slim lead as the seconds ticked away.
This was an impressive opening day performance from an improving Woodrush side against good opposition and both teams deservedly earned bonus points in the process.
Tomorrow Woodrush visit Old Wheatleyans.
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