Sam Griffin kicked a last-minute conversion to earn Bideford Quins a 32-31 win over Exeter Engineers in the Devon Merit Table.
The student side went ahead on four minutes thanks to a try and the conversion. Bideford lost centre James Scott shortly afterwards when he limped out of the action with an injury.
Quins responded with the first of three tries scored by Timothy Cramp Junior, who dotted down at the back of a driving maul.
The Engineers replied with another converted try, but Bideford had the last word in the first half with what was arguably the try of the game.
Veteran back row Simon Mitchell streaked down the Bideford wing after Griffin put him in space with a wonderful offload. Griffin had thrown some wayward passes before then and his well-timed delivery restored manager Jamie Giddy’s faith in him.
Bideford turned round 14-10 down and a big task playing into the wind. Giddy rang some changes and they gave Bideford some good front-foot ball from line-outs and scrums. Andy Baxter, moved to fly-half, began pulling the strings.
Griffin, showing a new lease of life following his return from retirement, scored his second try and there was another for Cramp. Josh King, returning from a long lay-off added a try of his own.
Sam Olde – famed for his devastating pace in his younger days – appeared off the bench in the second half and appeared to have lost a yard or two when a retreating Engineers’ prop overhauled him.
The Engineers fought back with scores of their own. Some sloppy defence at a line-out, a missed tackle in the middle and a comedy of errors in the Clubhouse Corner allowed them to take the lead into the final minutes.
After a number of penalties at scrum and ruck, Bideford continued to attack and Cramp broke through the centre with a dummy to score near the posts.
Griffin, none from five with the boot at this stage, strode confidently forward and nudged the winning kick over.
The average age of the Bideford scorers was 35 years old showing that the club’s strategy of mixing experience with youth is working well!