North Midlands suffered an agonising last-gasp 30-21 defeat against Cumbria in their opening Bill Beaumont Division Three match at Bromsgrove.
North Midlands were two points adrift and in the hunt for victory until Cumbria crossed with the final play of the match and added the conversion to deny North Midlands the consolation of a losing bonus point.
North Midlands led three times in the first half and regained the lead again in the third quarter but Cumbria finished strongly.
Bournville scrum-half Rhys Harrhy landed three penalties, each of which nudged North Midlands into the lead.
Cumbria went over for a converted try late in the first half which saw them open up 13-9 lead.
North Midlands responded with an unconverted try from Old Saltleians full-back Michael Ho – another debutant – before the lead changed hands again when Cumbria scored another converted try.
The see-saw contest continued with Bournville wing Ethan Walker touching down and Stourbridge centre Tom Mitchell adding the conversion to give North Midlands a 21-20 lead.
A penalty put Cumbria ahead again and the late try and conversion broke North Midlands’ hearts.