Stoneygate capped a remarkable first season playing in Uppingham with a last minute comeback win to snatch the Leicestershire President’s Cup.
Stoneygate beat Cosby 31-27 at Coalville to complete a perfect record in competitive matches this season, but it took a bit of individual brilliance from Henry Bridgwood, who used his pace to race in from his own half.
Gate, who moved their club to Uppingham from Leicester this season, thought they had the game sealed after 20 minutes when they raced to a 19-0 lead but their higher opposition opponents had other ideas and turned Gate’s stroll in the park into an uphill battle.
Flanker Tim Kemp opened the scoring before longtime clubman Phil Beech crossed. Stoneygate scrum half Tom Brownie then made it 19-0.
Captain Graham Ough said: “At that stage we were playing some lovely rugby but we completely switched off.”
Cosby scored before the break to make it 19-5 and came out with new found confidence and were soon on the scoreboard again. Bridgwood scored the first of two tries, again on the breakaway after Brownie had gone the length of the pitch, but Cosby could not be contained and moved out to a 27-26 lead with the clock ticking down.
With hope fading Bridgwood beat the tiring defence and took off downfield to score the decisive try and send the Stoneygate players and supporters into wild celebrations.
Ough said: “It was a very late try from us, from one end of the pitch to the other. I felt quite sorry for our opposition they played well and must have thought they had won it.
“Cosby had won the league above us so we went into it looking to test ourselves for next season.”
In fact it looks like the Uppingham side will get to test themselves against the likes of Cosby more regularly next season as they have been invited to move up into the First or Premier Division by the Leicestershire Rugby Union.
Ough said: “This season we have only played 10 league games, and had four conceded by the opposition, which isn’t enough rugby.”
“It will give us more competitive and more regular rugby which is what we want. No one wants to win 84-0 we want to be tested.”
Stoneygate have been unbeaten in the league for the last two seasons and one Division Three with ease this year. They also played five of the teams in Division Two in friendlies, beating all comers, so the invitations to move up the leagues has been gratefully accepted by the club.