Lydney hold on for vital win over Launceston
Two Cornish tries in the last four minutes almost snatched the points from Lydney but the width of the goalpost ensured they kept all four from a vital win in National League Two South, writes Chris Wilson.
Having led 19-5 with five minutes remaining, Lydney were hit by tries from Ben Hilton and Tom Kneebone as Launceston staged a dramatic late comeback.
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However, Jake Murphy's attempt to convert Kneebone's touchdown hit the post and stayed out leaving Lydney with the win thanks to four penalties and a conversion from Tony Wicks.
The Severnsiders deserved the win for their dogged pursuit of victory and adherence to a basic but effective first half game plan that had Wicks regularly hammering the ball downfield using the wind and the slope to push Launceston back.
Consequently, a tense and tight first half, largely dominated by the boot, ended 16-0 in Lydney's favour.
Wicks opened the scoring after thirteen minutes with his first penalty after a catch and drive was stopped illegally. His second came after half an hour and the third with five minutes to go to the break.
The half finished well for the home side as Wicks' steepling kick was fumbled by stand-in fullback Richard Bright and Danny Chiu picked up the pieces to score. Wicks added the goal.
The Cornish All Blacks brought the Severnsiders down to earth in the first minute of the second period as Liam Yeo escaped down the far touchline to score in the corner, Murphy missed the tricky conversion.
But Launceston couldn't build on that score as their indiscipline too often meant they could not get possession and field position. Ben Hilton saw yellow after one too many infringements though while he was away, all Lydney could add was a Wicks penalty.
There was no further score until the final few minutes as Lydney's dogged chasing and harrying looked to have secured the points.
A run from Richard Friend took the visitors to the home posts and after some desperate defence held them out, Hilton crashed over for a try converted by Murphy to put them seven points behind.
Not content with the bonus point, Launceston went for the draw. With the last play of the game, they spread the ball wide and Kneebone raced in from halfway. The angle was difficult for Murphy and Lydney were delighted he couldn't snatch a share of the spoils.
LYDNEY: Chris Holder; Josh Hannam, Tom Llewellyn, Danny Chiu, Alex Hall; Tony Wicks, Matt Williams; Paul Price, Ben Lewis, Ollie Day; Sam Thomson, Paul Kiely; Matt Taylor (Capt.); Will Jones, Charlie Daniell. Replacements: Jake Fields (for Lewis, 70), Chris Farrell, Leigh Green (for Price, 53), Taitusi Lacabuka (for Hall, 47), Phil McAllister.
LAUNCESTON: Kyle Moyle; Richard Bright, Lewis Paterson, Neilson Webber, Liam Yeo; Jake Murphy, Richard Friend; Tim Mathias, Levent Bulut, Martin Rice; Ben Hilton, David Parrish; Lloyd Duke, Tom Rawlings (Capt); Josh Lord. Replacements: Neil Bayliss (for Rice, 57), Tom Hurdwell (for Rawlings, 53), Duncan Hales (for Parish, 53), Martin Kneebone (for Moyle, 20), Sam Chapman (for Webber, 57), Rawlings for Bulut, 55.
Referee: Phil Watters (RFU Appointment)
Star Man: Tony Wicks bagged most of Lydney's points, Matt Williams was bright and alert around the ruck but Ben Lewis' non-stop efforts earn him the honour.