Ben Spencer’s boot crowned Saracens LV=Cup champions with the last kick of a dramatic final against Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens.
Two scores from David Strettle and a Nick De Jager try from close range sealed the deal for Saracens who collected only their third major trophy in their history.
It had been a tense first half with Ceri Sweeney’s two penalties for the Chiefs and Spencer’s one the only score.
Saracens raced out of the blocks in the second half, though, surging into a dominant lead with the two Strettle scores in quick succession.
Exeter then gave themselves hope late on when Max Bodilly scored twice but Saracens won it at the death and took the title off the defending champions.
Spencer landed the first score of the match, successfully hitting a penalty from 40 metres after Saracens dominated the first scrum of the match.
Sweeney then hit straight back with a penalty of his own to level things up early on.
Exeter seemed eager to run the ball but had to withstand heavy Sarries pressure in the opening 20 minutes.
The Chiefs, having weathered the storm, had the chance to move into the lead, but Sweeney missed two successive kicks at goal – the first bouncing out off the bar and the second sailing wide.
And Exeter, despite not having the lead on the scoreboard, had turned the tide in the scrum, winning a number of penalties at the set piece.
The Devon side then made this pressure pay and grabbed the advantage; Sweeney hitting a regulation penalty after Spencer was sent to the bin for lying on the wrong side of the ruck.
Nils Mordt then had the chance to even up the scores on the stroke of half-time but his drop goal attempt creeped wide and the Chiefs led at the break.
The first-half chess was ended five minutes after the break when Ben White’s wayward pass was picked off by Strettle who raced in to score the opening try of the match.
With the conversion missed Saracens had a slender lead and they immediately built on it – Strettle again crossed the line after superbly gathering a cross-field kick before touching down in the corner.
The winger’s double brought Sarries’ swagger back as they went in search of more points to kill off the game.
They almost found another score – a rumbling, driving maul involving 12 Saracens was turned over just before the ball was touched down.
It was not long before the game was all but sealed for Sarries. De Jager dived over from close range and with the Spencer conversion the London side had a 14-point lead.
The Chiefs were not likely to lie down, however, and spent a five-minute period camped on the Saracens line – Scott Spurling then was sent to the bin after infringements at the scrum.
And the pressure told – the Chiefs moved the ball left and Bodilly crossed in the corner. The resulting Gareth Steenson conversion gave them a glimmer of hope.
They could have dramatically levelled the game soon after – Tom James dummied and went past his opposite number on the wing but Catalin Fercu clawed him back just before the line.
But then Exeter did draw level. Bodilly wriggled over for his second try and Steenson converted with two minutes to go.
In the most dramatic of endings Spencer then broke Chiefs’ hearts when he nailed a penalty with the last kick of the game to seal the title in dramatic fashion.