A try by Mike Roberts on the last play of the match gave the Cowichan Piggies a 17-15 win over the Nanaimo Hornets in a pivotal Cowichan Cup rugby test last Saturday.
Roberts got the ball off a strong scrum, then switched directions and went on a hard run, bowling his way over the line to score.
Trailing by three points, the Piggies played desperation rugby down the stretch, missing two chances to tie the game with a penalty kick.
With one more late opportunity, they went for the scrum instead, and Scott McLeod picked up the ball, which eventually found its way to Roberts.
The game had started slow for both the Piggies and Hornets.
"The first 20 minutes were a bit of a defensive struggle," Cowichan coach Gord McGeachy said. "Both teams struggled to get their offence going."
About 20 minutes in, the Piggies were trying to run the ball deep in their own end when the knocked the ball on and turned it over, leading to a Nanaimo try. Cowichan replied soon after when McLeod scored and Wood slotted the conversion, and the teams were deadlocked at the break.
Cowichan came out strong in the second half, getting a quick try from Jenner Teufel to take a 12-7 lead. The score stayed that way until late in the game when the Hornets launched a counterattack that resulted in a try that tied the score at 12-12. Nanaimo continued to press, and Cowichan gave up a pair of penalties, one of which the Hornets kicked to go ahead by three points with five minutes to go.
The Piggies spent the last five minutes pressuring the Hornets in their own end, and ended up capitalizing on a bad decision by a Nanaimo player to score the winning try.
McGeachy was particularly impressed with Roberts, who had a great game even before scoring the winning try, and with forward Ryan Spooner, who provided a big physical presence on defence.
The match was the last in the Cowichan Cup season until January, and keeps the Piggies in contention for a home playoff game in the spring.
The Piggies will be in action again on Dec. 6 when they host Castaway Wanderers for a Times Cup game.