OLD Centralians kept alive their hopes of staying in National Three South West with a bonus-point 37-17 home win over Old Redcliffians today.
Cents’ win moved them out of the drop zone, one point and one place above Wanderers, who host Bracknell tomorrow.
It took Centralians 70 minutes to overcome a stubborn Redcliffians side but in the final 10 minutes they finally powered through for the hard fought bonus-point win they needed.
Despite dominating possession and territory in the first half and with their forwards shoving the visiting pack around, all they had to show were two penalties from centre Liam Hemming.
Old Reds’ backs, running hard from deep, scored twice through winger Henry Bird and centre Dave Harris with full back Jack Steer converting both.
Cents’ forwards drove number eight Rich Pinkney over to reduce the interval deficit to 14-11.
Hemming struck twice with a penalty and two drop goals to nudge Cents in front 20-14 before Steer slotted a penalty as the final quarter began to set up a grandstand finish.
Cents’ persistence in running the ball from their 22 put them under unnecessary pressure as Reds’ tackling closed them down. Cents forced their way downfield, at last using the trusty boots of Hemmimg and scrum half Connor Qwilliam and helped by Reds’ hooker’s sin binning for a foul tackle.
It paid dividends as winger Ollie Townsend squeezed over from a five metre scrum and Rich Pinkney threaded through broken play, neither converted from wide out.
With the last play of the match Cents’ forwards bombarded Reds’ line, releasing the ball for centre Rob Jones to dart over for the bonus try. Hemming added the extras for a handsome 37-17 victory.
Centralians: L. May; O. Townsend; R. Jones; M. Mathers; J. Preece; L. Hemming; C. Gwilliam; J. Elliott; N. Stroud; S. Fritchley; D. Cook-West; P. Willetts; B. Slatter; D. Knapman; Rich Pinkney.
Interchanges: M. Vye; Rob Pinkney; H. Preece.
Redcliffians: J. Steer; H. Bird; C. Gervais; D. Harris; H. Goldson; A. Groves; R. Stevens; D. Allinson; C. McGrath; J. Morse; C. Pursall; M. Drew; A. Davis; M. Woodward; D. Fry.
Interchanges: O. Coles; J. Hooper; J. Knight.