UTTOXETER lost in the dying seconds of an entertaining match against in-form Midlands Three West (North) outfit Edwardians – but recorded a highest-ever finish of seventh in the division.
Matchday captain Steve Woolley said an emotional farewell to the club, with the experienced hooker signing off after more than a decade of service to the Oldfields club.
Uttoxeter started brightly and took an early lead as Alex Crisp knocked over two fine penalties in windy conditions to open up a 6-0 lead, ensuring Don Hayes’ men punished the visitors for their errors.
Town conceded a free kick at the scrum for an early push and Edwardians took a quick tap and after a few quick phases they broke through.
The ball was touched down despite protests from Uttoxeter that it was knocked on and Edwardians’ fly-half converted to take the lead after 13 minutes.
Jake Cabrera was then sin binned for illegally slowing play down inside Uttoxeter’s 22 and the visitors capitalised on their extra man with two further tries.
The first came from a break in the midfield. Uttoxeter’s Ben Gallimore made a trademark crunching tackle but Edwardians supported the break well and the ball was quickly recycled and spun out, where one of their centres was able to touch down.
Soon after, the visitors scored their third try after a line-out on halfway.
The ball was spun off the top and they took contact in the midfield, sucking in Town’s backs.
Swift hands saw Edwardians make the most of an overlap and steam into the corner before cutting infield and taking a 21-6 lead.
It looked as if Uttoxeter were set for one of their typical collapses but the hosts showed determination to get back in the game.
This time it was their turn to score from an overlap. A shortened line-out saw Steve Palmer tap the ball off the top, where it was spun out to Lewis Bain. The fly-half took the ball on before popping off to No 8 Jack Conlon, who sliced through a gap in the midfield.
Conlon drew the cover before spinning out to centre Henry Knox, who skipped out of a tackle to touch down out wide and close the gap to 21-11.
Town scored one final try before half-time to reduce the deficit still further.
Again, quick ball from a line-out saw Bain released Conlon.
He smashed through a tackler and went for the line, touching down with an outstretched arm under the posts. Crisp added the extras to make the score tight at 21-18 going into the break.
Edwardians struck first in the second half as their hooker took advantage of a missed tackle to score under the posts.
Town soon hit back with their third try of the afternoon.
Centre James Deaville lofted a kick over Edwardians’ backline and the ball was weighted perfectly for Knox to steam onto. He broke away from the chasing Edwardians backs and cruised in under the posts for a converted try to close the gap to 28-25.
On the hour, Uttoxeter levelled when Crisp struck his third penalty.
Town then retook the lead as James Williams charged over after a scrum and good recycling from Craig Goodall and Dave Chell.
With 12 minutes left, it was 33-28 to Uttoxeter.
Late pressure robbed Hayes’ outfit of victory as they conceded a penalty and were then marched back 10 metres for dissent.
Edwardians kicked for the corner and took the line-out. From it they drove infield before their full-back sliced through to level under the posts.
The visiting kicker then kept his nerve as he slotted the conversion to end a thrilling game and an up-and-down season for Town.
Match sponsor Nigel Titterton selected Jack Conlon as man of the match.