Cheltenham Saracens 38
Cheltenham Saracens gained the losing bonus point needed to achieve promotion to Gloucester Premier, but third-placed Longlevens produced an amazing second-half display to dampen their party following six second-half tries and snatch victory in the final minutes to remain unbeaten in 2014.
In the wake of their Junior Vase semi-final match this Saturday at Battersea Ironside, Longlevens still had their minds focused on gaining promotion against Saracens, who they beat 34-22 in the opening game of the season.
The hosts welcomed back Jake Kitson following five weeks out with a knee injury to provide a timely boost.
However, the visitors produced a fine first-half display, which saw their powerful pack score four tries.
While Longlevens’ defence was strong, pressure told and following two yellow cards for Mark Hancock and Dave Edwards, tries were conceded.
Before the break, Longlevens managed to work an opening for wing Harry Yorke to dart through and dive in near the posts to give them hope.
Longlevens came out fighting and two quick tries from Tom Evans and a length-of-the-pitch interception try from fly-half Ross Preedy raised their spirits.
However, Saracens came back at Longlevens with another try from their full-back, effectively killing the game off.
The last 15 minutes saw Longlevens run everything at their opponents with Tom Griffith’s carving up the backline with ease and eventually being rewarded with a fine solo try.
Yorke then added another try to put Longlevens level with five minutes remaining.
Longlevens’ hearts were in their mouths when they conceded a kickable penalty almost instantly from the returning kick-off, which the Saracens fly-half slotted to send their large travelling support into jubilation.
The party was spoilt with minutes remaining when elusive full-back Tom Evans avoided a handful of tackles to create a three-on-one overlap, which sent Griffiths free to offload to Yorke, who beat the cover defence and secure Longlevens victory.
Mike Hagan was again in fine kicking form, slotting five of seven conversions mostly from the touchline.
Longlevens take on Battersea Ironside this weekend for a place at Twickenham on May 5.