Will Scammell crossed for a last-minute try as Lincoln’s 1st XV claimed a 17-12 home victory over third-placed Long Eaton to all but end their opponent’s promotion hopes.
The result saw Lincoln move above Loughborough and into fifth in Midlands Two East (North).
Long Eaton came close to breaking the deadlock when their full-back made a great break through the defence, but Scammell produced a superb try-saving tackle to put him into touch.
Lincoln opened the scoring shortly before the half hour mark when Sean Chapman raced down the wing. Prop David Beveridge reacted quickly to pick up the ball from a ruck soon after and go over for a try in the corner.
Long Eaton levelled the score when Jacob Wright managed to force his way over for an unconverted try despite the best efforts of Scammell.
Lincoln soaked up early pressure from Long Eaton in the second half and produced some great tackles to keep them out.
Lincoln took the lead when man-of-the-match James Kirk, who was playing his last home league match for the club, shrugged off a tackle and made a great break.
The Malta international then produced a perfectly-timed offload to release Scammell, who ran in for a try. Richie Dixon slotted over the conversion.
Lincoln forward Ben Sykes was shown a yellow card and Long Eaton tried to take advantage of having an extra man. An excellent tackle from Grant Cowe halted one of their attacks before Long Eaton also saw a try disallowed.
The visitors levelled the score with a converted try five minutes from time but that wasn’t the end of the drama.
Sykes saw a late try disallowed before Lincoln sealed a dramatic victory in the final minute. Sykes made a great break through the defence before offloading to Laguna Fisiihoi. The Tongan forward made good yards before passing to Lewis Wilson, who tipped the ball across for Scammell to run in for the match-winning try.
After the match try hero Scammell said: “I am really satisfied to beat third in the league. It shows the quality we can deliver. We just need to do it more regularly.”
Euan Williams crossed for four tries as Lincoln Imps XV completed a league double over Long Eaton with a 78-10 victory.
Luke Brodrick and Tom Dowdy grabbed two tries apiece, while Euan Kelly, Matt Walker, Kodi Strand, Michael Tunnicliffe and Rob O’Donoghue also got their names on the scoresheet. Brodrick and Kelly added the conversions.
After the match Lincoln Imps XV captain James Johnson said: “From the first to the last minute we were in complete control with some excellent offloads aided by great support lines, which led to a lot of brilliant team and individual tries.”
Lincoln Ladies crossed for their 50th try of the season as they finished third in the league with a 34-10 home victory over Amber Valley.
Captain Clare Brown and Rose Buchanan scored two tries apiece in the final league game of the season.
Bob Chapman and Lynne Brooker each scored one try and Helen Francis added two conversions.
Head coach Brian Kelly said: “I am really proud of the girls. I think they know we could’ve finished higher and if it wasn’t for a few slip ups earlier in the season we could’ve pushed (champions) Coalville more, but they should be really proud of themselves.”
Lincoln’s 1st XV travel to face Loughborough on Saturday. The third team face a trip to Keyworth.
There is a home game at Longdales Park as a Lincoln old boys side takes on a touring team – Aylestone Athletic RFC (1pm kick-off).
Elsewhere in the county, leaders Scunthorpe won 24-17 at Bournville thanks to two tries from Jacob Hardy. Will Robinson and Grant Elliott each scored a try and Paul Cook added two conversions.
In Midlands Two East (North) Market Rasen & Louth lost 45-26 at Dronfield. Tom Stephens, Pete Southwell, Chris Everton and George Grant scored Market Rasen’s tries. Ben Youngs added two conversions and Southwell kicked one.
In Midlands Three East (South) Stamford continued their promotion push with a 39-21 victory at Stockwood Park. Rees Burns, George Nairn, Toby Anderson and Jack Jones were among the try scorers for Stamford. Bourne beat Queens 50-21.
Kesteven claimed a narrow 24-21 victory at Mansfield in Midlands Three East (North). Aaron Whittaker, Tom Miles, Olie Hanson and Ben Whinney scored Kesteven’s tries with the latter adding two conversions. Spalding beat Tupton 51-15.
Sleaford’s chances of moving off the bottom of the table took another hit after a 50-21 defeat at second-placed Ashfield. Adam Loveday, Leon Stobart and Dan Mackie scored Sleaford’s tries with the latter converting all three.
The promotion race is going down to the wire in Midlands Four East (North). Second-placed Grimsby are level on points with leaders East Retford after their 42-16 win at Gainsborough.
Lewis Cartwright scored a hat-trick of tries for Grimsby while Matt Pettiford, Kieron Dinnes and Evan Picking each grabbed one. Brad Treacher added three conversions and two penalties.
Fourth-placed Cleethorpes kept themselves in the promotion mix with a 33-12 win over Mellish. Alex Nabais crossed for two tries with Dan McDaid, Isaac Machon and Lawrence Gillen each scoring one. Harry Lightfoot added four conversions.
Rob Booth crossed for two tries as North Hykeham suffered a frustrating 24-21 defeat at Chesterfield Panthers.
Booth also added three conversions while George Sheldon scored his first try for North Hykeham.
North Hykeham and Chesterfield held a minute’s silence to honour the memory of Mike Beard before the match.
Rikki Bovey crossed for two tries as Skegness lost 46-32 at Worksop. Captain Matthew Dean and Matthew Parvin also scored tries for the Lincolnshire side. Bovey kicked three conversions and two penalties.
Boston’s 1st XV were awarded a home walkover against Nottinghamians. Boston’s 2nd XV beat a University of Lincoln side 57-12 with Bruno Hall, John Hummel and Louis Williams each scoring two tries. George Sharp, Stephen Kippax and Bob Willis each scored a try with Hummel adding six conversions.