Hemel Stags kept their playoff dreams alive with a 44-24 victory over Gloucestershire All Golds in a must-win clash at Pennine Way.
With just two games left in the season, the Stags knew they had to win both of them in order to guarantee a place in the Championship 1 playoffs.
And Troy Perkins’ men duly delivered as seven tries got the job done in impressive style to set up an exciting clash with Oxford in the final league game of the campaign.
Craig Cook crossed for an early try for the All Golds that Matthew Bradley converted, but Aaron Small went over for Stags at the other end with BJ Swindells converting.
Stags went in front just before the half hour mark as Jy-Mel Coleman cleverly kicked on the first play for Michael Brown to gather the ball and score under the posts, with Swindells adding the extras.
Only six minutes later, Hemel increased the lead when Coleman caught the ball, dummied and scored easily. Swindells’ kick took the score to 18-6 in Stags’ favour.
An excellent saving tackle preserved Hemel’s lead going into half-time, and they extended their advantage four minutes after the restart when Alex Ingarfield cantered under the sticks. Swindells again added the conversion.
It was all Hemel now and they went over again when Aaron Small found Matt Cook in the left corner for another try. Swindells clearly had his kicking boots on as he made the touchline conversion look easy to put Stags 30-6 ahead.
Further tries from Cariern Clement-Pascall and James Cameron extended the gap, but the All Golds battled back into the game with converted tries from Jamie Crowther and Phil Cowburn.
Stags were not to be denied, though, and wrapped up the win with a kick from Coleman, before All Golds’ Miles Fairbank completed the scoring with a late try.