Chinnor claimed their first ever victory over Bishop’s Stortford but it was a bittersweet success as their failure to collect a bonus-point took them out of second place in National League Two South.
Chinnor edged a pulsating, ding-dong affair 27-25 against the league leaders to continue their fine home record but with Old Elthamians recording a four-try win elsewhere, the local side are now third and must win their final three games to have any chance of finishing in the play-off spot.
Matt Williams, director of rugby, said: “The heart and desire the boys showed makes last week’s result against Clifton an even bigger pill to swallow. We now have given ourselves a real chance to fight to the end of the season with Old Elthamians.”
Scrum-half Banks kicked Stortford into an early lead on Saturday but straight from the restart, winger Luke Hibberd went in unopposed for a try, converted by Jonny Bentley.
It was end-to-end stuff already and Stortford capitalised on loose play to pressurise the Chinnor defence into giving away a second penalty and Banks duly obliged.
A period of sustained Chinnor dominance midway through the half was well defended by Stortford until, on 27 minutes, flanker Ben Manning cut through and went over near the posts.
Once again though the visitors stormed straight back and a converted try from Rea meant just one point separated the sides at half-time with Chinnor 14-13 in front.
Stortford then took the lead on 50 minutes when a penalty was kicked to the corner and their forwards rumbled over, but Banks missed the conversion and back came Chinnor through Bentley, who also added the extras.
Now leading 21-18, there was no let up from either side and in this absorbing to-and-fro encounter, the lead again exchanged hands when Nic Clancy scythed through the home defence to score a superb individual effort.
Banks’ conversion made it 25-21 on 60 minutes but Bentley kicked a penalty to narrow the deficit before repeating the feat six minutes later, firing Chinnor into a 27-25 lead.
Banks missed two penalty attempts to give his side the advantage while Chinnor also attacked as the clock ran down to try and get that precious bonus-point, but it was not to be as this ferocious contested ended 27-25.
Chinnor are away to Worthing this weekend.