Calderdale emerged battered, bruised and beaten 58-37 by West Yorkshire Super League table toppers Leeds on Saturday.
They knew they would have to be at their best to have a chance of beating the only side above them in the table and the absences of Lauren Lybird and Sophia Samuels, who missed the first half due to an umpiring exam, made their task more difficult.
On the plus side Roxy Rothery and Kim Roy were available.
As usual Leeds were taking no prisoners, and came out hard. Calderdale struggled and were 17-9 down after the first quarter.
Calderdale produced a much better second quarter, but some weak defence saw Leeds extend their advantage to 32-19 going into half time.
Calderdale made a couple of changes in an attempt to get back into the game, with Samuels taking her position at goal defence and Natalie Casreplacing Pia Rattigan at wing attack.
Their third quarter got off to to a bad start though as the contest became more like a rugby match.
Castell suffered a nasty looking head injury after colliding with two Leeds players and had to go to hospital for treatment. Despite this, Calderdale battled back valiantly to bring the score to 41-30 at the end of the quarter.
That was as good as it got, however, as Leeds dominated the final quarter, with a number of Calderdale players picking up knocks.
They managed to hold out for a point though, the best result they could have hoped for before the game against a Leeds side who have won all their league games this season.
Despite the loss, they will still finish second, as they are three points clear of Bradford Premier with a game to go, and have a much better goal difference.
Calderdale thirds gained a creditable 46-46 draw with third placed Templars in Division One.
They had to recover from an early deficit, with the more experienced Templars shooters quickly finding their rhythm to give their side a 14-10 lead after the first quarter.
Heather Parkinson replaced Natalie Miles at goalkeeper at the start of the second quarter, bringing more experience to the defensive circle. However, she could not prevent Templars taking a 26-21 advantage into half time.
Jo Williamson replaced Hollie Thomas at centre with Georgina Parkinson on for Poppy Briggs at wing attack.
The changes worked. Brilliant defence forced Templars into errors, while Pauline Williamson and Libby Illingworth’s perfect shooting reduced the deficit to 36-34 at the end of the quarter.
The momentum was with Calderdale, and they took a one point lead midway through the final quarter, before Templars fought back to take a share of the spoils in a brilliant contest.
The thirds’ penultimate game of the season takes place against Shipley III at Halifax High School tomorrow.