Thames Valley took 78 minutes to gain the lead and emerge as 37-34 winners over Poverty Bay in their Heartland Rugby Championship match at Gisborne on Saturday.
Poverty Bay got off to a cracking start and after 30 minutes led 20-3 following an indifferent display by the Swamp Foxes.
Reece Broughton had kicked a sole penalty goal for the Valley but they managed to step up their game just before half time with two quick tries to Alex Bradley and Sitiveni Tupou.
Bradley’s try was converted by Broughton to make the half time score Poverty Bay 20, Thames Valley 15.
However soon after the break Poverty Bay scored a converted try to extend their lead to 27-15.
Midway through the spell a Poverty Bay player was sent off and this proved to be a turning point for Thames Valley.
A penalty try closed the gap to five points and then Matiu Abraham evened the score with an unconverted try.
With 10 minutes left on the clock and go both teams made a huge effort.
Poverty Bay scored first with a converted try and Thames Valley immediately responded with a magnificent five pointer to Harry Lafituanai.
Broughton converted and again the score was all tied up on 34 points apiece.
With two minutes to go Thames Valley was awarded a penalty 3 metres inside Poverty Bay territory.
Broughton calmly placed the ball and kicked the winning goal from 47 metres out.
After a poor start the Swamp Foxes again showed their resilience and determination by not letting this game get away from them.
It included another fine game from the young lock, Cameron Dromgol, who proved that he is an excellent example of a player with these qualities.
Wanganui lead the competition but the bonus point victory has enabled Thames Valley to move into second place on the points table equal with South Canterbury and Horowhenua-Kapiti, who they face next Saturday at Te Aroha.
The Swamp Foxes will be cheered on by members of the 1988 Thames Valley team who are attending this game as part of a reunion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of winning the NPC Third Division Championship.