TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS climbed to fourth in the table in National Two South but there are only two points separating them from the team in ninth place.
The competitiveness of the division was shown by another close encounter for TJs, who had also secured a five-point margin of victory over Henly the previous week.
The game ebbed and flowed for Old Albanians’ first visit to The Slade and in the first half TJs enjoyed much of the territory but they lacked accuracy and all too often they made a risky pass that missed its target.
TJs were struggling to put any phases together but they found the breakthrough when Charlie Edwards spied an opening and scampered through from 20 metres to score, Will Robinson adding the extras.
OAs were making forays into the home 22 and they manufactured two converted tries consisting of just a few phases against what was an unusually leaky TJ defence.
Robinson kicked a penalty to narrow the gap and then Will Colderick was put through with a sublime pass on the right to put TJs 17-14 ahead at half-time.
Their lead was extended when Tom Chapman seized on a misplaced pass in midfield to beat the full-back and score under the sticks, Robinson converting.
TJs were seemingly in control but they got on the wrong side of the officials and at one stage were reduced to 13 men, as they had been against Henley.
OAs took advantage of their numerical superiority and hit back down the right as winger Hugo Watson was putting a shoulder to a defensive scrum.
That reduced the lead to 24-19 and the hosts were grateful when a Robinson penalty edged them ahead – though OAs responded in kind.
As the clock ticked down, TJs were able to manage the ball well albeit in their own half and they managed to hold on for a narrow victory.
Tonbridge now travel to Bury St Edmunds, a much-changed outfit from last season, on Saturday [October 6, kick-off 3pm].