BROMSGROVE almost paid a heavy price for playing with 14 men for half an hour on Saturday, but they just had enough to edge Sutton Coldfield at Finstall Park.
Tom Millen, Gino Belmonte and Dave Lewis all saw yellow as Sutton pushed the hosts all the way and produced a thrilling late fightback.
But Bromsgrove clung on for an opening day of the season victory in National Three Midlands, with scores for Tom Hardwick, Phil Horton, Sam Bastock and a penalty try proving the difference.
Despite opening the scoring with a penalty from Jon Critchlow, it was the visitors who were the more clinical in the early stages. After Millen was sin-binned, Matt Morgan landed a penalty before Nathan Burchell sprinted into the corner. Morgan hit the post with his conversion attempt.
Bromsgrove’s pack were making life very difficult for the Sutton forwards, but they still managed to keep possession and they stretched their lead with a penalty from Morgan.
This was extended further when Dickerson went over following a fine midfield break. Morgan’s boots were also working as he moved the score on to 15-3.
Bromsgrove hit back with a 35th minute try from Tom Hardwick, which Critchlow converted, but Belmonte found himself in an offside position and fiddled with the ball earning himself a yellow card.
The two sides then traded penalties as 14-man Bromsgrove trailed 18-13 at half-time. Sutton piled on the pressure at the start of the second half. But the Boars struck first as Horton rampaged over the defenders to crash over near the posts and level the scores.
Their determination was clear to see, but so was their ill-discipline as Lewis became the next man in the book.
Morgan punished them with a penalty, but Bromsgrove continued to bounce back as Bastock crossed the whitewash on 68 minutes after a flowing move.
Critchlow added the extras before the home side’s pack led to a penalty try, which the full back duly dispatched to open up a 32-21 lead.
With just a couple of minutes remaining, the match appeared to be won, but Sutton then scored ten unanswered points in a thrilling finale.
A Morgan penalty was followed by a try for Stoddard, but fortunately for Bromsgrove’s Morgan’s conversion was the final kick of the game.