A sideline conversion from Logan Rei with time up sealed the Taranaki premier club rugby title for New Plymouth Old Boys on Saturday.
Trailing 15-10 with just second left, wing Jackson Carrington took advantage of a late yellow card to Inglewood opposite Telly Hemopo to find enough space near the sideline to sneak into score.
The conversion gave Old Boys an unlikely 17-15 win and ended a seven-year title drought.
“As soon I kicked it I didn’t know if it was going over but it started curling right to left and that’s when I knew it was going over,” Rei said.
Rei had not been the regular kicker for Old Boys throughout the year but put his hand up for the job in the final.
He said he felt the pressure.
“Of course, I had to step up last week and I was kicking them pretty good so I thought I might as well have another crack in the final.”
He, like his team-mates paid tribute to the effort Inglewood put in as they went desperately close to making it back-to-back titles.
“We knew they were always going to hard up front and that’s how it panned out. But we stuck to it and managed to get over the line in the last minute.”
Inglewood were shocked at the nature of the win given they dominated the match for long periods.
Their line speed in defence put Old Boys under a lot of pressure and forced them into mistakes they had not made for the majority of the season.
inglewood struggled at lineout time, however, as they lost a number of good positions on the field because their hooker could not find his target.
While Old Boys started well, scoring the first try to Lachlan Boshier, they allowed Inglewood to get back into the game through their ill-discipline.
That allowed first five-eighth Cody Hall to land five penalties and it could have been more had he not missed a couple of kicks he would generally knock over.
Inglewood will also regret some of their kicking options as they went for fancy kicks instead of playing for territory.
Old Boys captain Liam McBride acknowledged Inglewood probably deserved to win but he was delighted with the way his side fought to the end.
NEW PLYMOUTH OLD BOYS 17 (Lachlan Boshier, Jackson Carrington tries; Logan Rei 2 cons, pen) INGLEWOOD 15 (Cody Hall 5 pens). HT: 12-10.