GARNOCK Rugby Club's title celebrations were put on hold on Saturday as the Lochshore men fell to their first league defeat of the season - in dramatic circumstances.

Grant Ruxton's men headed to Forfar to face Strathmore knowing that a win of any kind would be enough to secure the National League Division Four title.

But unfortunately for the Garnock players, and their large travelling support, the champagne had to be put back on ice after a last-minute converted try saw the home side snatch a 26-25 win.

A shock loss for Whitecraigs away to bottom side Ross High mean that only Strathmore can now snatch the championship crown away from Garnock - though Grant Ruxton's men still need only two points from their last two matches to be sure of the title.

All was looking good for the visitors early in the match with two penalties and a converted Keir Walker try giving Garnock a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But any thoughts that the visitors might cruise to the title were soon dismissed as Strathmore battled back with a pair of converted tries to take a 14-13 lead.

A Strathmore infringement at the breakdown earned Garnock another penalty for a narrow 16-14 lead at the break.

Emphasising just how tight the match was, the second half began with a Garnock penalty before Strathmore scored an unconverted try, and suddenly the match was level at 19-19.

Looking to get points on the board to secure victory, Garnock scored two more penalties to lead 25-19 heading into the closing moments - with only a converted try able to thwart their title celebrations.

But a red card for the visitors for a high tackle saw Strathmore camp out in the Garnock 22 - and despite a valiant effort from the visitors, the home side eventually crossed the line.

All then hinged on the resulting conversion which was slotted well from out wide before the home side saw out the closing minute to hold on to their slim title hopes.

Garnock will now need to wait until March 23 and a home game against Greenock Wanderers for their next shot at securing the title.

Before that, there is National League Cup action at home to National Two side Kirkcaldy on March 9, with the winners facing Howe of Fife or Hillhead-Jordanhill at home the following week.