They did it! Salisbury RFC win place in the National Leagues!

Salisbury Rugby 2 November 2014 (Matt Pallas Salisbury RFC)

Published at 8:08am 1st May 2016.

The green and whites won their play-off match against Thornbury to seal promotion.

Salisbury Rugby Club are now a national league side after a tense 26-24 play-off victory over Thornbury yesterday (Saturday April 30th).

It means the club have now achieved back to back promotions into the National League for the first time in their history.

It was an up and down game in which both sides had spells of dominance, truly entertaining the approximate 500 people in attendance at Castle Road.

Two penalties a piece separated the sides in the early phases but Salisbury fell 10-3 behind when Tom Lane's clearance was charged down and Gareth Morgan scored a try to take and early lead.

Salisbury levelled through Rob Larcombe after some neat play after winning a line out, before Thorn Luke restored the visitors lead to 13-10 by half time.

The Green and Whites emerged from the second period with a renewed sense of urgency and pressed their visitors hard.

6 minutes after the restart, Tom Lane converted a penalty which began a prolonged spell of Salisbury dominance to turn the game on its head.

Three minutes later Richard West, who was playing his last game for Salisbury after 283 matches, bundled the ball over the line at Salisbury's 5th attempt after a quick line out from the hosts.

Salisbury Rugby team Jan 2016 (Josh Doherty)

After 50 minutes Thornbury retaliated when Will Sharrett scored a penalty as Thornbury began to regroup after going behind.

Despite Tom Lane replying to Sharrett's penalty with one of his own, Thornbury began to press and should have had a try with the scores at 23-19 had Alfie Richardson not dropped a catch when through.

The visitors, who were playing away as Salisbury had the better league point's total, did make amends after 68 mins when Dan Kerr got the ball over the line to make it 23-24 in their favour.

After missing the conversion, which in hindsight would have prevented defeat, there was just a point in it with 10 minutes remaining.

Lane had two opportunities via penalties to put Salisbury ahead but couldn't convert either as it looked as though Thornbury were going to edge it.

However, at the third attempt and with around a minute to go Lane was tasked with scoring a penalty which would promote his side to the national leagues for the first time in their history.

With the eyes of the bumper crowd at Castle Road eagerly watching him, Lane converted to send the home crowd wild.

There were jubilant scenes at the final whistle as the players, many of whom close to tears, embraced and celebrated a hard fought victory.

Manager Dan Jefferies said:

"The boys for 2 years have been unbelievable, they have put in loads of work. When I first came I said Salisbury should be national league side . We had guys like Josh Green, as a young player who had a tough time year before, I knew he could play national league and I'm proud of all of them. Today the boys stood up and took a result against a really good Thornbury side.

"I wasn't so worried when we missed the 2 penalties as we were pressing, but when they scored a try and we had the man sinbinned and Gilbert out injured as well, I knew something had to be done or we could be in trouble. Looking forward, I think we have a good side but of course we'll need to get a few in, our best 18 are good enough to play national league, we may need to bolster the side and the depth of the squad but we have a good young side and ability to build from there."

Tom Lane, who scored the final points, said:

"It means everything to all of us, it's been great since being here and of course some of the lads have come up right through. All we've wanted to do is play national rugby, I want to challenge myself at the highest level, so yeah it's all been really good."

Retiring player Richard West said:

"It's such an amazing way to finish, but it will be hard next year so I'll definitely not be playing! I'm a little bit emotional not to be involved, but it's a lot of travelling next year and to be honest I'm feeling it a lot now."

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