RUGBY: Trowbridge 17 Devizes 14
FULL-BACK Jackson Szabo's superb try three minutes from time downed leaders Devizes to throw Trowbridge a title lifeline in Southern Counties South.
Szabo stormed up the right touchline and behind the posts from 40 metres out to snatch victory for his side just as the Saddlebacks looked likely to take a big step towards the divisional crown.
It proved a fitting send-off for first-team rugby at Green Lane, with Trowbridge set to move to their new ground in Hilperton next season, as both sides produced a high-quality encounter watched by a large crowd, including more than 100 ex-Trowbridge players.
The home side dominated much of the first half, scoring twice in the opening quarter, but were unable to pull clear of Devizes, who chipped away at the lead courtesy of the boot of fly-half Andy Thompson and then seized the advantage just before the break.
An attritional second half appeared to be going Devizes' way until Szabo's intervention with time running out.
Szabo's evasive running lines were a feature of much of the match, particularly the opening stages when the Saddlebacks' defence struggled to cope with Trowbridge's attacks.
He came up just short of the line after scything through the defence two minutes in, but when a Devizes clearance kick failed to find touch, Szabo cut through once more and combined with wing Ashley Chalk to send fellow wide man James Davies over.
Fly-half Lloyd Davis missed the conversion and the lead was cut six minutes later as Thompson landed a 40m penalty after Trowbridge had failed to roll away from a ruck.
The home side soon returned to the front foot, drives from back row men Barry Coombs and Adam Sullivan pushing them up to the try line.
The breakthrough finally came after several phases, prop Sam Edwards battering through the middle before the ball went wide and Davies went over untouched for an unconverted score.
Midway through the half, Trowbridge should have been celebrating a third try as number eight Dan Smith charged off the back of a scrum and Szabo surged through again, but failed to provide the scoring pass with the line at his mercy.
Despite losing Sullivan to injury, Trowbridge again went close as Smith pushed past two defenders again but was unable to get his pass away.
Davis missed a further shot at the posts but Devizes were starting to enjoy the upper hand in the scrummage, with the back row of Tom Moon, Julian Taylor and James Gaiger prominent, and turned the screw before the interval.
The Saddlebacks pack shunted their opponents back fully 20 metres to earn the penalty which Thompson knocked over from 35 metres.
The home side's Edwards was then sin-binned for a trip and it proved costly in first-half injury time as another scrum got forward momentum and skipper Tom Collins set wing Paul Kuipers free to barge over from 20 metres.
The second period was played largely in the centre of the field, both sides missing penalties as Thompson was just wide from halfway before Davis missed one at the other end from closer in.
Centre Tom Weaver assumed kicking duties for the hosts, but he too was wide of the mark on the hour mark, Thompson missing another shot as the match approached the final 10 minutes.
Eventually Thompson did land successfully from 30 metres after Trowbridge had been penalised for off side to take his side into a four-point lead.
That looked like it would be good enough to secure the points for Devizes but Trowbridge piled on the pressure in the latter stages.
A huge Thompson clearance seemed to have averted the danger but when Davis ploughed upfield, Trowbridge found the extra man out wide and Szabo scooted up the touchline and cut inside opposite number Luke Rapson to spark wild home celebrations, Weaver's conversion putting the icing on the cake.
REACTION & PICTURES FROM SATURDAY'S MATCH IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES