AN ENTERTAINING game at Lime Meadow between two well-matched sides resulted in an exciting finish and a narrow win for the home side.
Despite Old Paulines early threat, Mids dominated for 20 minutes, winning plenty of good ball and creating space.
Scrum-half Jake Bacon and fly-half Dan Crouch linked well with their backs to produce numerous opportunities, but only came away with a penalty goal from Crouch after eight minutes. Eventually Paulines broke out and produced some excellent handling to get them back in the game.
They took charge, and though Mids defended well, with centres David Stanton and Andrew Dean tackling like lions, they had no answer when Paulines took a quick throw-in.
A well-timed pass to centre Eithan Humphreys sent him in for a try close in.
The conversion was missed but the visitors had taken an unexpected 5-3 lead after 25 minutes.
There was no further score in the half, but plenty of good play, with both sides trying to run the ball. Mids started the second half well and camped in the visitors' half.
They almost regained the lead after 46 minutes when Crouch had a straightforward kick from 30 metres but it flashed wide of the post.
The home side continued to have the better of it, and prop Russell Jones entertained with a Fijian-type pass and a shimmy reminiscent of former star Paul Kember.
When Crouch found touch on the Paulines' five-metre line, Mids had an excellent platform, but they made a mess of the lineout.
Paulines were penalised twice for handling in the ruck, and Crouch made no mistakes with the resulting penalties, giving his side a four point cushion.
Paulines pack was getting on top in the scrum.
They refused more goal-kicking opportunities and looked for the try, which duly came seven minutes from the end. Number eight Toby Ejsmond-Frey crossed the line for the touchdown.
The conversion was missed but Mids were now really up against it, a point down with time running out.
They took the game to Paulines but were out-scrummaged on their own ball. They then set up a perfect position for a Crouch drop goal but he missed by inches and it seemed the chance was gone.
Paulines opted for a long drop-out, which was well fielded by Shields, and the young winger ghosted his way through several tackles to set up a great chance for Mids.
The line was well set and the ball moved quickly to give the scoring pass to man of the match Alex Scott. Crouch kicked a magnificent conversion from the touchline for victory.