HEARTBREAK and controversy ruled the day for Woolston Rovers on Saturday as they saw their bid for promotion ended.

They travelled to Clock Face Miners for the National Conference League Division Two play-off final with high hopes of stepping up to Division One alongside neighbours Crosfields, who secured automatic promotion.

Following a topsy-turvy game, it was the St Helens outfit who won through 20-18 thanks to a late try from full-back Michael Carney.

However, Rovers were aggrieved at the decision to disallow what they felt was a perfectly legal Theo Holt try while they were 18-14 up.

“It was not the end to the season that we had planned but the lads gave everything and you can’t ask for anymore than that,” head of rugby Mal Holt said.

“We had a try disallowed, which clearly was a try, and that decision has proved vital.”

Head coach Billy Sheen added: “We were bitterly disappointed at the end but we won’t stay down for too long.

“We will regroup and come back stronger and go again next season. I’m immensely proud of all the lads and thank them for their efforts.”

Rovers took the lead after nine minutes when hooker Adam Files burrowed over between the posts, with Dec Leonard adding the conversion.

Clock Face hit back 10 minutes later as Brandon Lewis sped over having been found by prop Brad Davies, with Jack Highcock’s conversion levelling the scores at 6-6.

Troy Brophy then crossed in the left corner to allow Woolston to retake the lead following quick hands, but Clock struck back on the stroke of half time when Rovers fumbled a kick which led to Jimmy Jones scoring out wide.

Highcock landed a penalty just before the hour mark to put the hosts ahead before Woolston grabbed their third try through loose forward Harry Files, who went from dummy-half and held off four would-be tacklers to score a try converted by Leonard.

Then came the moment of controversy – with nine minutes remaining, Adam Files found full-back Holt linking into the line and he stretched out to touch down, but the referee ruled Holt had lost control of the ball in doing so and ruled the try out.

Despite that, Rovers still held the lead until Carney levelled the scores, with Highcock’s conversion proving to be the winning moment.

It was a cruel end to a highly promising campaign for Woolston, who finished the game with 12 men following the dismissal of stand-off Ryan Brown for an alleged high tackle.

Woolston: Theo Holt; Troy Brophy, Kieran Moore, Lewis Hoarty, Kieran Jones; Ryan Brown, Dec Leonard; Josh Sudlow, Adam Files, Ryan Hickman, Paul Alcock, Craig Lawton, Harry Files. Subs: Dylan Alcock, Tom Byrne, Sam Roberts, Matt Taylor