NEWENT secured promotion to South West One with a dramatic 28-26 play-off victory over Kingsbridge.

Newent, who were runners-up in Tribute Western Counties North, overcame the might of the Western Counties South runners-up with the last kick of the match in front of a bumper crowd at Newent Rec.

The hosts spurned a early chance to open the scoring when captain Ross Webb’s penalty hit a upright in the sixth minute.

Kingsbridge’s cause was hampered soon after when hooker Jim Westlake was shown a yellow card for killing the ball. From the resulting penalty, Will Mansfield grabbed a try which Webb converted for a 7-0 lead.

The visitors were reduced to 13 men when Dan Barlow joined Westlake in the bin. Despite this setback, Kingsbridge attacked the home line and forced Newent to concede a penalty, which Tom Putt kicked.

Buoyed by this success, Kingsbridge forced yet another penalty in the 24th minute which Putt slotted from 45 metres.

Worse was to follow for Newent when, in the 27th minute, Putt kicked the visitors into a 9-7 lead.

Newent regrouped and hit back with the best move of the game and, after seven phases, Mansfield crossed for his second try with Webb adding the extras.

Another home indiscretion allowed Putt a fourth penalty to reduce arrears to 14-12.

Newent full-back Brett Gardener was shown a yellow card but they still extended their lead with Webb scoring a unconverted try for 19-12.

On the stroke of half-time, Kingsbridge centre Alex Allan crossed for a unconverted try. Within minutes of the resumption Putt kicked his fifth penalty to give the Devon side a slender 20-19 advantage.

Gardener was helped from the field, being replaced by Rich Merrett, and from the penalty Webb kicked the hosts into a 22-20 lead.

As the game swung from end to end it was Putt who gave the visitors a narrow 23-22 lead with yet another penalty. The contest swung Newent’s way in the 67th minute with Webb kicking a soft penalty for a 25-23 lead.

But Kingsbridge laid siege to the Newent line and Putt looked to have landed the killer blow with a 36-metre drop goal.

But, with moments remaining, Kingsbridge handled in the ruck and Webb struck the winning penalty to the sheer joy of the home crowd and despair of the visitors.