By Liam Moakes 27/02 Updated: 05/03 11:52
Pershore 19 Berkswell & Balsall 18
Midlands Two West (South)
PERSHORE pulled off an amazing recovery to clinch their first victory of 2012 in remarkable fashion on Saturday.
In glorious sunshine the visitors started the better and raced into a 10-0 lead within the first quarter of an hour.
Pershore did manage to keep hold of the ball for long periods but failed to get close enough to threaten the visitors' defence as the visitors dominated the scrum in the first half, but came out second best at the lineout as brothers Luke and Josh Hardiman gave Pershore plenty of possession.
The second half started much the same way as the first had done with Berkswell scoring an unconverted try and a penalty to extend their lead to 18-0.
Pershore then rang the changes, bringing on Karl Evans at prop, Steve Holmes at flanker and Stefan Ellis on the wing and their scrum benefited immediately as the home backs started to enjoy some quality possession, with Richard Baker making a number of breaks in the centre.
AJ Hanson, who had moved to scrum half, made some sniping breaks after being awarded a penalty and the visitors' second row was sin-binned for not retreating.
Pershore took advantage through their dogged forwards who won a penalty within 20 yards of the line. Evans took the ball on and Hope barged his way over under the posts and Matt Cyphus converted.
A few minutes later Luke Hardiman had a try disallowed but Holmes made up for the disappointment with an unconverted try to make it 18-12.
With just over ten minutes left Pershore were reduced to 14 when Carl Redman was sin-binned, but this did not affect Pershore at all as the back three of Alex Hanson, Ellis and Ashley White continued to attack from deep, getting Pershore away from danger.
With just a few minutes left the home side were awarded a penalty ten metres from the visitors' line and Evans again took the ball on and Hope again finished the move by crossing the whitewash.
Under pressure, Cyphus kept his nerve as he slotted over the conversion to put Pershore into the lead.
The hosts were in for a nerve-wracking last minute but, with possession secured in the middle of the park, all Pershore needed was to keep the ball and run the clock down, however Hanson kicked the ball away and the Berkswell winger set up a counter-attack.
As they approached the 22 Pershore gave away a penalty and Berkswell had the opportunity to regain the lead and win the game at the death, but to the great relief of the Piddle Park support the kick sailed wide and Pershore clung on to win.
The victory lifted Pershore above Cheltenham North and off the bottom of the table and tomorrow they host in-form Droitwich in a local derby at Piddle Park.
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