ROCKINGHAM — It wasn’t the main match of the evening, but you couldn’t tell that from the reaction from those in attendance.
Richmond Senior and Cheraw battled until the final match of their contest Wednesday night with fans, players and coaches on the edge of their seats.
Richmond’s David Watkins and Cheraw’s Larry Strong needed more than just nine minutes to decided the winner. In fact they required more than the one-minute overtime period.
But not much more.
Watkins pinned Strong nine seconds into the first of the two 30-second tiebreaker periods to lift the Raiders to a come-from-behind win over the Indians. Richmond captured the final five matches by pinfall to pull out a 42-38 victory after trailing by 27 points following a loss in the 160-pound class.
Earlier in the day, Richmond knocked off Southeastern Conference foe Lumberton 42-33 to improve to 2-1 in league action.
“I knew I had to get the pin,” said Watkins, who was battling fatigue and a cold against Strong. “The Lumberton win was bigger because it is conference, but all of them are big to me.”
Trinity Hunt and Watkins were the lone Richmond wrestlers to earn two victories on the night. Kempton Wall earned a pinwall win in his only contest against Cheraw that helped keep the Raiders’ comeback hopes alive.
Dalton Faurot started the rally by pinning Jeremy Sims with 39 seconds remaining in the first period. Zavier Covington and Gerald Bethea followed by pinning their opponents in the second period of their contests. Then Wall’s victory set up Watkins’ heroics in the 285-pound class.
The Raiders didn’t require a dramatic finish to down the Pirates. Richmond coach Earl Nicholson knew he was going to have a handful of forfeit victories against the Pirates, but said three other matches were key to keeping the Raiders alive for a possible automatic playoff berth.
“At 106, 113 and 170 we were able to go the distance,” he said. “That took nine points away from them and that was the difference in the match. If we would have picked up our second conference loss, we’re done. We will have a winning record, but I don’t think it will be good enough to get a wild-card.”
In the other match of the evening, Cheraw outlasted Lumberton 38-36.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.