No late Ledbury heartbeak for Manor Park this time as Morewood kicks side to crucial victory
Manor Park held their nerve and rode their luck to secure a victory over Ledbury to open a 16-point buffer above the relegation zone.
With only one of their remaining five league games coming on home territory, Park needed to secure points from the visit of their Herefordshire rivals to the Griff and Coton.
Heavy downpours overnight looked set to see the game postponed but last-minute switch to Nuneaton RFC's spare pitch allowed the match to take place.
With memories fresh of an agonising 31-29 defeat in the reverse fixture when Park were denied a draw by a conversion at the death striking a post, it was the red-and-blacks' turn to benefit from some late drama.
Trailing 16-13, Ledbury twice butchered try-scoring chances as a three-on-one attack ended with Manor Park scrum-half Will Woodward
producing a try-saving tackle. And in the final play of the game, a knock on within metres of the line drew the final whistle from the match official.
Led by Stephen Ballard
in the absence of Chris Goode, Park lost another key player early doors when Gary Hykin
hobbled off with a knee injury.
In his place came Josh Carvell
and the big second-row was immediately in the thick of the action, powering over to score only for a double-movement award to deny him opening the scoring.
A second scoring chance went begging for Park when Adam Bennett
just failed to pull in a pass with the line at his mercy.
was also denied a try following his superb angled run with some strong rearguard defence.
produced a superb try-saving tackle on half-way when a fortunate bounce from a clearance kick landed in the hands of grateful on-rushing Ledbury back who will rue his missed opportunity.
Ledbury did take the lead against the run of play when a pass was intercepted inside the Park half and this time the visitors got the job done to land a converted try.
Morewood reduced the deficit with a penalty kick but Ledbury restored their advantage from a penalty as both sides lost a player to the sin, with Jak Watson
earning a 10-minute rest broken-up by the half-time interval.
Ledbury had one further chance to widen the lead but a penalty with the last play of the half was pushed wide.
Not long after the restart, Park made their pressure pay as Michael Kemp
powered over under heavy pressure after a series of phases just metres from the line.
In testing conditions, Morewood knocked over the conversion and his penalty saw his side take the lead for the first time.
Gaz Hammond went within inches of improving that advantage only for a fine try-saving tackle to deny him just metres from the line.
Ledbury got back within three points with a penalty shot at goal and could've pulled level, only for a 40-metre central effort to fall short.
Having coughed up a number of chances to score in the first half, it was Park's turn to benefit from attacking profligacy as Ledbury saw two counter-attacks end with huge disappointment, as they travelled back to Herefordshire with just a losing bonus point for their endeavours.
Park: Watson, Ballard, Green, Kemp, Marston, Hammond, Lashley, Hykin, Woodward, Bishop, Forryan, Reynolds, Hincks, A.Bennett, Morewood. Subs (all used): Bridge, Ross, Carvell.