Last-gasp Beecroft penalty gives Cranleigh thrilling draw

Rugby SUS-150809-142849001
Rugby SUS-150809-142849001

Cranleigh held title chasing Old Walcountians to a thrilling 22-22 draw in Surrey 2 which saw a dramatic finish.

Tries from captain Phil Moore and Robbie Wheeler as well as a Curtis Beecroft penalty gave the Cranes a narrow 13-12 lead at Wildwood Lane at half-time.

The second half saw a change of tactics from the visitors to compensate for the wind and exceptional scrumaging from the Red and Blues pack.

Two more Beecroft penalties either side of a two Walcountians’ tries took the score to 22-19, before Beecroft kicked a 20-meter penalty in the last play to save a draw.

The home side started well and number eight Ryan Dixon picked up drove into the Walcountians defence line and the ever-present captain Moore collected to squeeze over out wide.

In reply, the visiting full-back and winger combined to find the space out wide and run in a try, with the conversion sliding down the scoring side after hitting the upright.

From the kick-off, the Red and Blues mounted the next attack, resulting in a penalty which Beecroft nailed to pull the score back to 8-7.

A slick move from OW’s midfield exposed enough gap to embarrass the Cranleigh defence and score close to posts, before the Cranes’ evergreen Robbie Wheeler touched ably assisted by Dixon’s powerful drive.

In the second half, the wind allowed the visitors to mount an attack with quick hands down their back line for their elusive full-back to find the gap for a 17-13 lead.

Cranleigh continued to mount attack after attack resulting in the first of two penalties both taken by the boot of Beecroft and slotted through the uprights to retake the lead.

Entering the last quarter a Cranleigh forward was adjudged to have made a high tackle and harshly penalised for a ten minute spell in the sin bin, which OW took advantage of to score from a well-worked attack.

The returning player for Cranleigh made an immediate impact with less than five remaining. Andy Wright then robbed his opposite number and an offensive drive into opposition territory began.

Cranleigh showed all the improvements this season, with grit, determination, skill and 11 phases of possession and, with numerous infringements, the referee finally called last play allowing Beecroft to send over a penalty 30 meters out and tie the match.

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