Injuries proved the turning point as Old Rishworthians lost 25-12 at home to a Middlesbrough in a Yorkshire One contest dominated mostly by defences.
Once Rishworthians centre Ben Wainwright and player-coach Chris Stone had to leave the field near the end of the first half, the visitors gradually began to take control.
Until the last quarter, though, it was still anyone’s game, but as conditions worsened so did the home side and Middlesbrough finished strongly to deny them a losing bonus point.
Rishworthians opened the game well and right wing Kian Stewart almost got through after running back a clearance kick.
The visitors took an early lead with a penalty, but neither side could break the other’s defence, Stone coming nearest for Rishworthians, being hauled down close to the line.
There were strong runs by locks Callum Heseltine and Fraser Swarbrooke, prop Phil Kershaw and flanker Gerard Rollings and the whole pack held up well against the much bigger Middlesbrough forwards.
Near the end of the half the visitors increased their lead when a quickly taken penalty caught Rishworthians napping and brought a try in the corner for scrum half Conner Foley.
The home side hit straight back with a penalty from stand-off Josh Kelly to leave them trailing 8–3 at the break.
They opened the second half strongly and Kelly added another penalty.
Replacement centre Olly Scrimshaw almost broke through, but the pack came round to set up the platform for Kelly to give them the lead with a well taken drop goal.
He almost extended it with a kick from the touchline on halfway, which dropped agonisingly under the bar.
Rishworthians were caught napping again with another quickly taken penalty, which resulted in a converted try.
Kelly brought the deficit to three points with another penalty, but this was cancelled out with one for Middlesbrough.
As conditions deteriorated the visitors adapted better and again got through with a quick break and support from the pack brought a converted try to take it beyond losing bonus point range for Rishworthians.
In the final minute Rollings and left wing Anthony Shoesmith combined well to go close, but the visitors’ defence was too determined.
Rishworthians’ Academy side went down 33–18 at Old Brodleians.