It was a case of so near but yet so far for Old Rishworthians as a try in the final minutes saw a five-point victory snatched from their grasp in a 29-27 home defeat by Dinnington.
The conversion was a dagger blow, robbing them of a draw and leaving them with just two bonus points and rooted in the Yorkshire One relegation zone thanks to Selby’s win at bottom club Guisborough.
Everyone acknowledged that a draw would have been a fair result but in the end the difference between the sides was Dinnington’s bigger, stronger forwards.
Rishworthians young, lightweight pack had performed wonders the previous week at Bradford Salem but just could not repeat the effort against stronger, more experienced opponents.
The lead changed hands several times and Rishworthians thought they had the game won until the last five minutes.
They started brilliantly and were ahead almost straight from the kick-off. Centre Kurt Sutcliffe made a break and was well supported by his forwards, prop Phil Kershaw going close before the ball was spun wide for left wing Doug Heseltine to cross in the corner.
He was almost in again soon after as fly half Tom Andrews put in a masterclass of long passes.
Play then ebbed and flowed with both sides making errors and dropping the ball but eventually Dinnington got close to the home line and forced their way over for a converted try.
A penalty then took them close again and a rolling maul saw them go over for a second try, closely followed minutes later with a repeat performance for a third.
Trailing 5-17 Rishworthians hit back with the final move of the half. The ball went from one side to another with some exciting play from the home backs.
Centre Ben Waud almost got in on the left before play was switched and Sutcliffe cruised in on the right. Josh Kelly added the conversion.
Rishworthians came out strongly in the second half and soon drew level at 17-17. Andrews put in a clever grubber kick and No 8 Harvey Keighley-Payne showed great speed to race on and touch down.
The visitors came back, though, and more forward pressure almost got them over until a short pass saw the left wing squeeze in at the corner.
From the restart the home men kept the pressure on, retaining possession and eventually bringing a yellow card for a Dinnington player.
They then turned down two penalties to go unsuccessfully for a try but their pressure brought another yellow card for the visitors and Rishworthians opted for a scrum. From it scrum half George Wright darted through to score. Kelly added the conversion.
The home side kept up the pressure and won another penalty and Kelly stretched the lead to five points.
As players returned Dinnington’s forwards again pressurised the home line and while the defence worked hard to hold them out, it eventually gave and the conversion rubbed salt in the wound with three minutes left.
Kelly attempted a long distance drop goal, but it fell short and the visitors were able to see out the game.
Rishworthians Development team drew 23-23 with Huddersfield YMCA. There were two tries for Sam Bake and one for Lee Atkinson. Joe Billing added two penalties and a conversion.