Ripley Rhinos RFC lost 14-12 to Barton-under-Needwood 2nds on Saturday in a friendly.
Rhinos travelled down to Barton for the second time this season with some trepidation after a 12-try thrashing in the previous encounter.
Skipper Craig Culshaw was delighted to have 17 players at his disposal.
After the ten minute drive from changing room to pitch, Rhinos were rushed into kicking off straight away. Usually a slow-starting team, they began strongly.
Fly half Daryl Banton pulling the strings as his pack won him solid ball to distribute.
Barton defended well and had strong running centres. They were eager to attack with ball in hand throughout the game and looked threatening at times with this style.
Ripley began well and opened the scoring with No. 8 Zeique Robinson going over. A second try from outside centre Lee Rowland gave them a 12-0 lead at the interval.
The second half saw Barton step up their game and Ripley become embroiled in refereeing issues rather than concentrating on their rugby.
Two converted scores gave the home side the lead and a missed late penalty denied the visitors the win they had deserved.
In the final analysis, Ripley should have taken their chances and won the game.
Barton stuck at it, defended well, stepped up their game in the second half, rode their luck and got the victory in the end.
Ripley played well but the star of the show was scrum half Jacob Hartley, who deservedly won the BAB Plumbing & Heating man of the match award from his team.