Sheffield Rugby Club secured promotion into National Three North for next season after clinching a thrilling 35-29- victory in the promotion play-off at Kirkby Lonsdale on Saturday.
The Abbeydale outfit will play in the same division asw city rivals Sheffield Tigers next season after climbing their way out of North One East, and face a summer of strengthening if they are to survive in the national leagues.
Sheffield drew first blood with full-back Andy Hodgson kicking a penalty after seven minutes, but their Cumbrian hosts went ahead with a penalty try on 11 minutes after Sheffield were penalised for pulling down a maul, and scrum-half Ben Walker added the conversion.
But Sheffield were not fazed, and centre Ben Parker crashed over on 17 minutes, Hodgson converting to give his side a 10-7 lead.
Sheffield were awarded a penalty try of their own on 28 minutes, again from a maul being pulled down, and Hodgson added the conversion plus a late penalty to make it 2o-7 to the South Yorkshire side at half time.
Kirkby Lonsdale pulled back a try two minutes after play resumed, Purdy’s score being converted to narrow the gap to 20-14, but Hodgson added another penalty to keep Sheffield nine points ahead.
The home side were in no mood to accept defeat, however, and a third try was converted which brought them to two points behind at 23-21.
However, second row Alex Fawdry added a 54th minute try, Hodgson converting, as Sheffield kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Kirkby Lonsdale – who had lost just four of their 26 matches this season to earn home advantage for the play-off clash – closed to within one point at 30-29 with another penalty and try, but flanker Dave Bradford touched down with four minutes remaining to secure the win for Sheffield.
Read more about Sheffield’s triumph in Ruth Dacey’s column in Grass Roots, The Star’s 16-page sport pull-out on Friday.