Siddal preserved this season’s unbeaten home record in the National Conference League in astonishing style against Rochdale Mayfield this afternoon.
They snatched a 26-25 victory with the final act of the match after trailing 25-12 with 15 minutes to go.
An interception try from Shaun Garrod on 67 minutes and a Caanan Smithies touch down with two minutes left, both converted by Gavin Stead, slashed the deficit to one point.
Two kicks then settled the outcome. Mayfield put the restart out on the full and winger Stead kicked the subsequent penalty from half-way in emphatic fashion to prompt wild home celebrations.
“I didn’t see that coming at all. I thought we’d lost,” admitted home coach Gareth Greenwood, who praised his players’ never-say-die spirit but conceded that the better team on the day had lost.
Premier Division leaders Siddal stay two points ahead of Leigh Miners Rangers with five rounds of fixtures to go, starting for the Chevinedge men at bottom side Hull Dockers next week before a break until the start of September.
Miners beat Lock Lane 48-14 today but third-placed Wath Brown Hornets lost 34-12 at Pilkington Recs and are now five points behind Siddal.
Greeenwood’s side had started the afternoon looking to get back on track after a third defeat of the season, a 30-28 setback with a much-weakened team at Lock Lane the previous week.
They dominated field position in the first 15 minutes but looked sluggish in attack near the visitors’ try line.
The sin-binning of a player from each side - Smithies for Siddal and a Mayfield winger - created more space and after Stead had lost the ball over the line, leading scorer Shaun Garrod typically ghosted through from 30 metres to open the scoring on 18 minutes. Stead converted.
The penalties then all started going Mayfield’s way and they looked slicker in attack than the hosts to score 16 points without reply in the run up to half time.
Speedy full back Lewis Sheridan looped around the Siddal defence to score; Rhys Caruth stretched out over the line to round off some good back play; and Caruth’s young centre partner Matty Ashton picked up an aimless pass from Kyle Ackroyd to race 60 metres to the line.
Stand off Zac Baker landed two of the three conversions to leave the visitors sitting pretty.
Things got worse before they got better for Siddal. Carruth cut inside and through a flat-footed defence on 45 minutes, hooker Chris Hough adding the goal for a 6-22 scoreline.
Garrod was ruled to have knocked on in the act of scoring and when the referee penalised Siddal for a high tackle, Baker added another two points with a straight 35 metre penalty.
Replacement hooker Sean McCormack went over five metres to the left of the posts and Stead converted to make it 12-24 on 64 minutes.
However, a drop goal from Sam Butterworth seconds later, after Mayfield had caught their high restart, left Siddal needing to score three times.
They did just that courtesy of their two converted tries and Stead’s final kick.
The marksman had apparently been hitting the target from long range in practice beforehand and the roars of jubilation from the Siddal players started to ring out when the ball was only half-way to the posts.