Brilliant Baker cooks up a remarkable comeback win
TEWKESBURY 26 ST MARY'S OB (SW) 25
CAPTAIN Paul Baker's hat-trick spearheaded this remarkable comeback victory, as Tewkesbury overturned a 20-point deficit to climb off the foot of the Gloucester Premier table.
When the hosts found themselves three tries down with half-time approaching, they feared the worst in this crucial relegation battle.
But skipper Baker crashed over under the posts, converting his own try – to kick-start a four-try turnaround that would set Tewkesbury en route to their fifth league win of the season.
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Despite equalling St Mary's league win tally, Tewkesbury still trail their rivals by three points and two places in the table.
Baker's opening score left the home side trailing 20-7 at the break.
Scrum-half James Bowers fed his brother Ben after a quick penalty, and he sent Baker home for try number two, though the captain could not convert.
New signing Chris Johnson's first act after joining the fray was to race clear, and then send centre Matt Stone over for Tewkesbury's third try.
Baker's conversion left the hosts trailing by one point.
Just as Tewkesbury scented that glorious rally though, the visitors poached another score of their own, to extend their lead back to 25-19.
Crucially though, they could not add the conversion.
And that six-point deficit left Tewkesbury confident they could yet complete the craved comeback.
The hosts had spent the entire game chasing the lead, but were not to be denied when it mattered most.
Liam Mellor's quick break set them moving, Stone stepepd in at scrum-half – and fed Baker, who cut inside the cover to race under the sticks for his hat-trick score.
The try in isolation would not be enough though, Tewkesbury needed the conversion for the lead.
But nerveless Baker delivered the extras without flinching.
St Mary's were still not finished, securing a kickable penalty with time ticking away.
Home hearts pumped loud as the visitors took their shot at goal – but the ball sailed wide, to spark raucous celebration.