Bicester missed out on a place in the Southern Counties Intermediate Cup final after losing their semi-final clash 27-10 at Swanage and Wareham.
Swanage dominated both the set-piece scrums and line-outs and the possession stakes, to secure a spot in the final where they will face Thatcham.
Bicester, however, staged a gutsy performance, especially in the first-half, as they successfully repulsed a series of well co-ordinated Swanage attacks, to turn round level at 3-3 with their try-line intact.
The visitors’ tackling, led by man of the match flanker Ryan Biscoe, was of the highest order, but though they won the penalty count 12-4, their ball retention was again poor and Swanage eventually took full advantage, scoring three tries inside the first 20 minutes of play after the break.
Then, following a Swanage drop goal, Bicester scored a consolation try at the end of this entertaining contest.
Philip Grave got the scoreboard ticking when slotting over an early penalty for Swanage before heroic Bicester defence twice kept the hosts at bay, with Tom Miles then banging over a 30-metre kick to bring the visitors back on level terms going into half-time.
Swanage took control from the restart, however, when Matthew Roberts peeled off a maul to cross for a try which was converted by Graves before a second converted score, this time by Erin Inglis, took the game beyond Bicester’s reach.
Despite a stunning tackle from Ryan Biscoe, the home side scored twice more in what remained through Robert Elford’s try and then Jacob Warren’s superb drop goal before Bicester had the final say when Francois Weise raced over, with Miles adding the extras.
Bicester turn their focus back to league matters this weekend when they entertain Wallingford in the Southern Counties North.