SEDGLEY Tigers staged a stunning late fightback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Saturday.

Otley thought they had clinched victory when they went into a 26-8 lead with 18 minutes left at Park Lane.

The West Yorkshire outfit still held that lead with just six minutes on the clock, only for Sedgley to turn the game on its head.

Even when Matt Riley converted his own try it seemed a lost cause, but Matt Lamprey crossed almost immediately after the restart to give them genuine hope.

Sam Lowthian then touched down during added time to snatch a 27-26 victory in what coach Geoff Roberts last week labelled a “must-win game”.

Not only was it a thrilling finish but it sent Sedgley back into second place in the National Two North.

“It was frustrating because it seemed to be a day of bombed chances,” said Roberts. “Every time we did something good, the try didn’t quite come off.

“At 26-8, you could say we were dead and buried, but we suddenly started to turn it on. Once we picked up one try it sparked the lads off. Otley were reeling a bit when we kicked off and we managed to score again.

“The 40 minutes (for the second half) were up on the running clock, but there were injuries so there was just enough added time for us to score from our last play.

“We thought we’d get no points but suddenly we had five. It was a super finish to turn it into a great day from what seemed a disaster.”

Riley had opened the scoring with an early penalty but Otley replied with two tries in quick succession to lead 12-3 after 13 minutes.

Chris Wilkinson was forced off after 22 minutes, with Rob Holloway stepping into the breach at fly-half, and it was the stand-in who found Harri Greville, who released Jack Warrington for a 32nd-minute try.

That made it 12-8 at half time but Otley were back on top after the break, with a sustained attack not only seeing Juan Crous get injured but resulting in the visitors’ third try.

Otley crossed again on 62 minutes but then had a man sin-binned with 10 minutes left, which helped to spur the Tigers on to their match-winning surge.

“Shaun Manley had a great game then Andy Riley rallied the lads and led the charge,” Roberts added. “We’re dogged in that way, we’re not beaten till the final whistle.

“It’s also a reflection on the fitness of the squad that, even though we have a few injuries, we tend to cause teams trouble in the last 20 minutes.

“When a team gets that momentum it’s difficult to stop. We saw it in the England-Wales game too.

“You start to get that confidence and belief back, and the lads showed a real never-say-die attitude to keep playing to the bitter end.”

Sedgley are now two points clear of their nearest rival for second place and the Tigers have two games in hand.

They host eighth-placed Chester on Saturday, when Johnny Mathews, Bob Birtwell and Ben Black could return, but Wilkinson has joined the injury list.