It was mission accomplished for Newbury Blues as they secured promotion back to the National Leagues with a tense victory against Clevedon on Saturday.
The Blues won 25-22, although it was slightly more comfortable than the scoreline would suggest after Clevedon scored a try right on the full-time whistle to reduce the deficit.
It means the Blues return to the National Leagues for the first time since 2012, as they look to rise up the pyramid once again.
Saturday’s play-off at Monks Lane saw the Blues – runners up in the South West 1 East – face off against their second-place equivalent in the South West 1 West, Clevedon, for the final promotion spot to the National League 3 South West.
The Blues made a good start and they got the first points on the board on 14 minutes as Jamie Futcher dodged a last-gasp tackle to score under the posts.
Dan Thorne kicked the conversion, and followed it up four minutes later by slotting a penalty between the posts for a 10-0 lead.
Clevedon hit back and were able to get a converted try of their own on 22 minutes, but pretty quickly Thorne struck again to fire home another penalty kick.
Thorne would successfully convert another two penalties before half-time to give Newbury a 19-7 advantage at the break.
Coming out after the restart Clevedon managed to round the Blues’ defence for their second converted try to move back within five points.
But once again the Blues were able to withstand the pressure and Thorne kicked another penalty to move clear again.
Clevedon managed to convert a penalty of their own, but in the 72nd minute Thorne got penalty number five for the Blues.
This meant Newbury had a crucial eight-point advantage, so Clevedon would need to score twice to pinch it.
While they managed to get one try, it came right on full-time and was not enough to prevent Newbury from taking the victory.