Big Upsets & The Great Escape

We were nearly on the end of a horrible upset last week against Esher.

They were bottom of the Championship after a couple of heavy defeats, had a huge injury list and we were at home too.

But they played some good stuff in the second half after we led 20-3 at half-time. Eventually and thankfully, we edged it 29-20.

It’s tough to know what leads to upsets or big changes in fortune during a game.

Is it the favoured side taking their foot off the pedal or the underdogs just having a good day or spell where everything clicks?

We were on the wrong end of a bad one last season when we led Doncaster Knights 42-27 with just seven minutes to go at their place.

They scored three quick tries, two of them in injury time, and beat us 46-42.

There was no way in the world we expected them to finish that strongly and we were stunned at the whistle.

Probably the best situation I have come out on the right side of though was many years ago when Nottingham were fighting for our lives as a club in the old National League Two.

We met Sedgley Park on the second to last day of the season knowing that if we lost, we would be relegated.

We were losing late on when one of our guys caught the ball in his own 22 and the referee shouted “last play”. We ran it the full length of the pitch, scored a try and won.

We celebrated as if we were safe because our nearest challengers for the relegation spot, and for the life of me I cannot remember who it was, were playing a strong Henley side that had only come down from National One the previous season.

Well... big, strong, talented and powerful Henley lost – and that meant we had to win at Stourbridge on the last weekend of the season to have a chance of staying up.

We won, the team we were battling with won too and we ended up avoiding relegation by a points difference of something like three points.

We had completed our own version of the great escape. It was nerve-wracking stuff.

Who knows where Nottingham RFC would be now if we had lost that game.

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