Thames Valley defeated Horowhenua-Kapiti 29-27 in their Heartland Championship match played at Te Aroha on Saturday.
It was another bonus point victory which has enabled the Swamp Foxes to retain second place in the competition.
However they remain equal with South Canterbury who will be their opponents in Timaru on Saturday.
Much rests on the outcome of this match as both teams have a chance to finish outright second and thereby host a semi- final for the Meads Cup.
They will also be wary that bonus points may affect the final standings.
Fourth placed King Country are only one point further back but Wanganui, with a seven point advantage, cannot be overtaken in first place.
Thames Valley were dominant in the first half against Horowhenua Kapiti and led 24-11 at half time.
Brett Ranga, Sam McCahon, Alex Bradley and Shaun Hill scored tries, two of which were converted by Reece Boughton.
In reply Horowhenua had scored a try and two penalty goals.
Midway through the second half Horowhenua had narrowed the gap to 24- 20 as infringements by the Valley had enabled the visitors to kick three further penalty goals.
Then six minutes from full time Horowhenua scored a converted try to take the lead 27-24.
Time was running out for the Swamp Foxes.
With two minutes to go the Valley declined a penalty shot at goal and put the ball into touch 5 metres from the Horowhenua goal line.
From the resulting lineout, Thames Valley applied the pressure and after several forward drives Alex Bradley managed to crash over for the winning try, much to the pleasure of the 1988 Thames Valley team members who were attending the game.
The try was not converted.
Although they were not in top form Thames Valley was the superior team on the day as they scored five tries to two.
However they will need a more cohesive effort and greater discipline when they take on South Canterbury.
Points for teams in contention for the Meads Cup: Wanganui 34, South Canterbury 27, Thames Valley 27, King Country 26, Horowhenua Kapiti 23.
One of these teams will drop down to the Lochore Cup section which is contested between teams finishing from 5th to 8th.
Thames Valley 29 (Brett Ranga, Alex Bradley 2, Shawn Hill, Sam McCahon tries; Reece Broughton 2 con)
Horowhenua Kapiti 27 (W Paia’aua, James So’oialo tries; So’oialo con, 5 pen)