Castleford RUFC snatched a 22-20 home win over Yorkshire Three high-fliers Old Otliensians with a converted try in stoppage time.
Otliensians looked set for a fifth straight victory when they led 20-15 but they were rocked when Castleford’s Luke Kenyon levelled the scores with a try off the last play of the match.
Cas skipper Thomas Egan held his nerve to calmly kick a winning conversion which was immediately followed by the final whistle.
It was a dramatic finish to a mistake-ridden match played in sticky conditions.
A slippy ball made handling difficult from the outset.
Castleford’s game plan was to try to close down Otley’s prolific scoring back-line by denying them the space wide out. This worked as all the visitors’ three tries came from forward play.
The home side started well but failed to snap up two gilt-edged chances early on.
They were made to pay when Otliendians took the lead.
Powerful work by the visiting pack saw a prop forward score an unconverted try.
When Otliensians quickly added another unconverted try, the home side were left with a big mountain to climb at the end of the first quarter.
Castleford’s re-shuffled team dug deep and their perseverance was rewarded when second-rower Gareth Grant-Mills powered over from five metres out following an initial run by influential hooker Jamie Owens.
Egan added the conversion and both he and the Otliensians goalkicker then traded penalties as the visitors led 13-10 at the break.
The second half started slowly with most of the play taking place between both 20 metre lines.
A lapse in concentration by Castleford enabled the visitors to extend their lead to ten points with a converted touchdown.
With just ten minutes remaining, Castleford badly needed a boost and it came following a scrum 20 metres out from the Otliensians try line.
Scrum half Alfie Knapp combined with Egan from the scrum base and centre Thomas Dobson received a long pass before directing a pin-point crossfield kick into the welcoming arms of winger Nathan Tomlinson who dived over at the corner.
Castleford now sensed victory and applied sustained pressure.
A high tackle on back-rower Kenyon, with the try line beckoning went unpenalised with the home supporters baying for a penalty try.
More Castleford pressure resulted in a yellow-card for an Otley prop, reducing their pack to seven players for the final two minutes.
That provided the chink of light that Castleford needed to turn the game round and, with the final play of the game, Kenyon went over for the match-winning try that Egan converted.
Castleford’s man of the match Mark Poppleton gave an excellent defensive display.
Castleford’s superb victory will put them in a buoyant mood for Saturday’s testing trip to second-placed Baildon.
Leaders Knottingley retained a six-point advantage over closest rivals Baildon by beating Aireborough 12-3 at Howards Field last weekend.
Knottingley will aim to preserve their 100 per cent away league record when they visit Goole on Saturday.
Knottingley’s solitary league defeat this season was in September when they were beaten 12-7 at home by derby rivals Castleford.
Hemsworth will be aiming to maintain their Yorkshire Division Four promotion challenge when they host Burley on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).
Hemsworth are second in the table, nine points adrift of unbeaten leaders Skipton.
Hemsworth 2nds were pipped 24-22 by Adwick-le-Street in last Saturday’s friendly at Moxon Fields.
Hemsworth 2nds host Sheffield 4ths in a league fixture this Saturday.