Arwel Thomas went out on a high as his career ended with Neath clinching a Principality Premiership league and Play-Off double with a victory on try count against arch-rivals Swansea.
The Premiership champions seemed to be coasting to their second trophy of the season before the All Whites hit back at the death to not only level the scores at 22-22, but also create one final try-scoring opportunity at Cardiff Arms Park.
Their final, injury-time raid after leveling the scores came within one pass of upsetting the odds, but the hitherto outstanding young centre Hanno Dirksen dropped the ball virtually in the act of scoring.
Neath were good value for their 12-6 interval lead as they conjured up two tries through Kevin Farrell and Ashley James, the latter being converted by skipper Thomas. The 35-year-old kept pulling the strings from the No 10 jersey for Neath and he added a penalty when Luke Jones was sin binned before converting a third try from flanker Adam Whitney.
Swansea twice took the lead in the first-half through penalties from James Dixon and it was his boot that kept them in the hunt after the break. By the time he had added two more to his tally the gap was only three points, at 15-12, and then he converted a try from Dirkson shortly after the Whitney score.
With a mere three-point gap again the All Whites went for the jugular and then managed to level the scores on the stroke of time when Nicky Thomas landed a penalty. Then came the final attack and Dirkson's unfortunate moment.
The final whistle went, the scores were level, but Thomas lifted another trophy thanks to his side's superior try count of 3-1.
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening held at Principality Stadium, after leading his side to the title for the first time.
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