North Midlands Under-20s crashed out of the Jason Leonard Under-20s County Championship with a disappointing 29-19 defeat at the hands of East Midlands at Daventry today.
Both teams had been beaten by Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire in their opening pool match which left this as a winner-takes-all contest for a place in the national quarter-finals.
North Midlands were forced to reshuffle their selected side on the morning of the match after late withdrawals and they also had to contend with a mudbath pitch on which the Midlands Senior Vase final had been played on 24 hours earlier.
But East Midland adapted better to the conditions and took a firm grip on the game by making the most of their attacking opportunities in the first half when they eased into a 15-0 lead.
Birmingham University flanker Kachi Udokporo got North Midlands back into the match with an opportunist try right at the start of the second half when he caught the kick-off and galloped over with Bournville fly-half Rhys Harrhy adding the conversion.
But East Midlands responded with two converted tries in a six minute period which also secured them the bonus point.
North Midlands played their best rugby when East Midlands emptied their bench and replaced some of their heavyweight forwards with lighter ones.
Prop Tim Daly (Stourbridge) and lock Charley Wright (Brignorth) went over for tries from close range but time ran out on North Midlands who finished a disappointing campaign winless.