A great performance by the Forfar team almost yielded an enormous victory over joint leaders Berwick, who snatched the game in the last play with a converted try.
Berwick started well with an assault which slashed through the centre pairing of Smith and Lees for Hill to touch down within three minutes, although the goal extras were missed.
However, the boot of Lees kept Strathmore in touch with two tricky penalties to take the lead at 6-5 after 20 minutes.
Berwick then switched up a gear to expose the Strathmore defence twice within five minutes, with tries from Euan Thompson and Aidan Rosie – the latter folliwing a great pass from James Thompson – to take a 6-17 lead.
There seemed to be a sense from the home crowd that this was going to be a long day at the office.
However, the mantra ‘leave nothing on the pitch, Strahie’ was clearly heard by captain Ian Reid.
His side restarted with vigour to find Jordan Lees out wide from stand-off Rory Mellis’ pass, which looped over the entire Berwick defence, with Ozzie Lees having to stretch his 6’5’’ frame to take it.
Nice interplay with winger Ruaridh Beaton put Lees in to score and convert the try just before half time, to make the score 13-17.
Strathie knew the next score was crucial to keep in touch and started with the same urgency and drive which had Berwick rattled and pushed deep into their 22 to concede a line-out.
Strathie were clinical at the line-out, which had been textbook all day, to put Russell in from a driving maul to edge the Angus team into the lead 18-17.
And then, again, it was the Belfast student Russell who crossed the whitewash in front of the posts on the 60-minute mark to increase the margin to 23-17.
Lees agonisingly hit the bar for the ball to rebound with the conversion.
The last 20 minutes was turning into a stalemate.
However, Strathie were unable to exist their 22 cleanly and the play opened up in the last five minutes.
A bit of panic set in as they tried to absorb a ‘do or die’ mission from Berwick.
The referee called ‘last play’ and, after a melee on the Strathie five-metre line, Berwick stand-off Jack Webster found a gap with some fancy footwork to put himself in for a score under the posts.
The whistle agonisingly blew as the ball sailed between the uprights to take the game to 23-24.
Strathie extended congratulations to Berwick for the win in what was an excellent contest, if not heartbreaking for the home side.