Two tries from wing Owen Lane were not enough as London Welsh staged a stunning late comeback to snatch victory over the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select (CBPS) at ice-cold Old Deer Park on Saturday afternoon.
The CBPS looked on course to record a first win of the British & Irish Cup campaign - after last week's draw with Nottingham - as tries from Geraint Walsh, Lane (2) and Garyn Smith saw them open up a 29-7 lead in the pool encounter in the English capital.
But the Exiles were not to be denied and produced a rousing late fight-back to score 26 points in 19 minutes – including a last minute score to claim the win – to leave the visitors stunned.
It was a harsh outcome on a young CBPS side who had impressed for over an hour with some strong forward play and dazzling backs moves in plunging temperatures.
However, it was London Welsh who proved too hot to handle in the closing minutes as roared on by the home crowd they claimed the win to leave CBPS to look towards the double-header with Cornish Pirates next month to re-ignite their cup bid.
A strong start from the visitors saw Scott Andrews exploit an early gap, after a neat pop pass from prop partner Thomas Davies, before the ball was neatly worked wide left and wing Geraint Walsh bundled over for the opening try on just three minutes.
Welsh looked to respond through their driving game but were repelled by a strong defence while the CBPS looked wide again with Summerhill and Smith prominent after big forward runs.
Centre Will Rees-Hole broke the line before the ball was switched wide right and Lane was bundled into touch just in time by the cover defence.
CBPS extended the lead after Rees-Hole produced a big hit on home full back Martyn Thomas after a testing high hanging box from scrum half Lewis Jones. The home defence infringed as they looked to protect the ball and Gareth Davies slotted the penalty despite blustery winds.
However, five minutes from the interval a quick tap penalty saw home No.9 Josh Davies skip over from close range and Olly Barkley convert to cut the lead to a point at half-time.
CBPS struck once again three minutes into the second period as good pressure from the forwards, with Cam Dolan and Chris Dicomidis powerful, drew in men and Gareth Davies spotted space out wide to dink a kick over for Lane to gather and touch down.
The young wing scored again four minutes later as Welsh spilled ball was picked up by Rees-Hole and he flicked a pass wide to Lane who stepped inside the final man and raced over.
A beautifully made fourth was scored after another Rees-Hole burst saw him take a flat pass at pace and then flick a delayed pass backwards to the supportive Smith who was in.
CBPS looked in total command but the home side were not done and hit back with quick-fire tries from Josh McNally and Koree Britton to start hopes a famous home comeback.
Five minutes from time the home crowd was on its feet when replacement Eddie Aholelei bashed over men, after a series of big runs from the home side caused huge problems, and over the whitewash.
The grandstand finale duly arrived as one final attack saw Welsh held out until a neat grubber kick in behind from Barkley spat up by the posts and into the grateful arms of James Lewis to crash over and spark home celebrations.
03m Walsh t 0-5
24m G Davies p 0-8
35m J Davies t Barkley c 7-8
43m Lane t G Davies c 7-15
47m Lane t G Davies c 7-22
59m G Smith t G Davies c 7-29
61m McNally t Barkley c 14-29
65m Britton t 19-29
75m Aholelei t Barkley c 26-29
79m J Lewis t Barkley c 33-29
Cardiff Blues Premiership Select: 15 Aled Summerhill, 14 Owen Lane (H Davies 66), 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Will Rees-Hole (Thomas 73), 11 Geraint Walsh, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lewis Jones (Williams 73); 1Thomas Davies, 2 Joe Tomlinson, 3 Scott Andrews (Jones 40), 4 Miles Normandale, 5 Chris Dicomidis, 6 Cameron Dolan (Lewis-Hughes 60), 7 Jevon Groves, 8 James Sheekey (Viggers 40)
Replacements: 16 Bradley Thyer, 17 Joe Jones, 18 Shane Lewis Hughes, 19 Jordan Viggers, 20 Chris Williams, 21 James Thomas, 22 Harry Davies