Birmingham & Solihull Bees 24 Leeds Carnegie 26
EDF Energy National Trophy Quarter-Final
FIVE years on from their famous victory over London Wasps and 74 minutes into Saturday’s tie another incredible cup success story was on the cards for the Bees.
That was until unbeaten National One leaders Leeds overturned a 24-12 deficit to progress to the semi-finals.
Bees were aggrieved and confused as to where referee Keith Lewis found almost ten minutes of additional time from.
It was during extra time that tries from Leeds youngsters Scott Freer and Phil Swainston got them level and Argentinean fly half Alberto Di Bernardo stepped up to add the last minute conversion and give the visitors a fortunate victory.
Bees matched their superior visitors in every department with notable performances from half-back Rod Petty and fly-half Mark Woodrow, who despite missing four of his six kicks at goal, kept Leeds busy all afternoon.
That said, Carnegie made a bright start when Jason Strange improved Adam Hopcroft’s sixth minute try.
Woodrow then missed a penalty and a conversion on 24 minutes after Petty had run in a five-pointer between the posts - the first points the away side had conceded in the competition this season.
Leigh Hinton touched down in the corner after 32 minutes for Leeds however Strange was unable to add the conversion.
This left the scores at 12-5 to the Premiership-bound side but after the break Bees proved why they are favourites to escape from National Two as winners come April.
Fresh legs were introduced in the second half and on 57 minutes Scott Young released fellow centre Cameron Mitchell who crashed over the line to spark a Bees fightback. Woodrow kicked the extras to level the scores.
Mitchell then turned provider as his crossfield kick was worked along the line for Reece Spee to score out wide.
Then almost immediately from the re-start prolific Simon Hunt ran in another unconverted try to leave the Bees dreaming of the semi-finals.
But replacement hooker Freer powered over the line in reply for Leeds and Di Bernardo kicked the conversion.
Then a last-gasp try from debutant Swainston left Di Bernardo with a conversion to win the game which the Argentine duly did to break Bees hearts.