Battling Long Buckby suffered agony in the RFU Midlands Vase Final as they suffered a 41-38 extra-time loss to Rugby Lions in an epic clash at Station Road.
Buckby played superbly in front of a large crowd, and at one point led 32-14.
But Rugby scored with the last play of normal time to take match into extra-time at 38-38, and a solitary penalty in the 20 minutes added on saw them take the glory.
Lions started well and eased 14-3 ahead, but Buckby stormed back to a half-time lead of 25-14, which they soon increased to 32-14.
Rugby kept their focus though, and although they were hit with two yellow cards, they still managed to gradually peg Buckby back and level it up with a conversion of a try at the death.
In extra-time, Lions kicked a penalty to edge 41-38 ahead.
Buckby threw the kitchen sink at Lions but could find no way through, despite Nathan Maddox claiming he had scored a try. The referee and touch judge were both unsighted and it wasn’t given.
Buckby press officer Nick Palmer said: “It’s unfair to pick out individuals but as ever the tenacity and determination of Richard Ryan shone through.
“Centres Nathan Maddox and Luke Foster made some great tackles and time and time again forwards like Tom Haynes, Tim Lewis, Sam Evans and Andrew Tarplee stood their ground and, after the game, you only had to look at the face of Tim Dixon to see that he put absolutely everything on the line.
“Ben Walton was immense. He grabbed two tries but these could just as easily have gone to one of his back row colleagues Andrew Frankland or Jake Toseland both of whom played brilliantly.
“In the three quarters the baby of the squad James Hare confirmed his coming of age with yet another try and Ed Sitch continued his terrific season latching onto a great break by Maddox to continue his scoring record.
“Centre Luke Foster doesn’t go many games without scoring and this one was no exception as he crashed over under the posts. Ryan Clark banged over three penalties and converted two of the tries and time and again full back Jonny Nixon came into the line looking for gaps in the Lions defence.”
Buckby team: Tim Lewis, Tim Dixon, Tom Haynes, Andrew Tarplee, Sam Evans, Ben Walton, Jake Toseland, Richard Ryan, Ryan Clark, Nathan Maddox, Luke Foster, James Hare, Ed Sitch, Jonny Nixon. Replacements: Ollie Sitch, John Paul Watters, Rob Hough, Doug Burroughs, Fred Saunders, Gov Kandola Scorers: Tries: Ben Walton(2), Ed Sitch, Luke Foster, James Hare. Cons: Ryan Clark(2). Pens: Ryan Clark(3).
BUCKBY are back in Midlands Four East (South) action on Saturday when they entertain Kempston (ko 2.15pm).