Bicester came within four minutes of producing a huge upset when they drew 20-20 with second-placed Thatcham in Southern Counties North.
A revamped Bicester side were leading 20-13 just four minutes from time before the home side snatched a draw with a last-gasp converted try, although there was still time left for Andy Cook to attempt a drop goal but Bicester had to be content with a share of the points.
In an evenly contested game, the visiting forwards again impressed, as did the backs, with centres John Behan and Tim Farrow both scoring tries, and fly half Dan Spencer contributing two conversions and two penalties.
Bicester were ahead after only five minute after a tremendous 40 metre surge down the right side from prop Will Butler made deep inroads into the Thatcham half before a slick cross-field passing move resulted in Spencer slotting over a penalty kick.
Immediately, Thatcham, having secured their scrum ball, were turned over in contact and Spencer knocked over a second penalty, but Tim Apperley’s try, converted by fly half Joe Leadley, put the hosts into a one-point lead.
The visitors regained the lead 10 minutes from half-time, however, as excellent combination play featuring Farrow, Tom Horwood, Spencer and Ryan Gallacher ended with Behan breaking four tackles on a lightning 30-metre sprint to the left of the posts.
Spencer again added the extras before Thatcham replied with a drop goal from the boot of Leadley to bring the home side to within three points at the break.
Although Thatcham had prop Matt Langdon sent off for stamping five minutes into the second half, the hosts pulled level when Leadley dissected the posts with a penalty.
Bicester then appeared to have won it as Farrow powered through the home defence and touched down for a try, converted by Spencer, only for Thatcham winger Liam Rowland to cross for a last-minute converted try that earned a share of the points.
The result means Bicester sit ninth in the Southern Counties.
Elsewhere, Bicester IIs lost 36-34 to Reading IIIs despite Francois Wiese, Craig White, Anthony Shaw, Rob Keen and Freddie Everitt all crossing the whitewash for tries.