Buckingham RFC put up a spirited performance against Royal Wootton Bassett, but ultimately fell just short against the league leaders.
The Wiltshire visitors immediately took the game to Buckingham, who did well to soak up the early pressure.
When they turned down a relatively easy fifth-minute penalty in favour of a kick to the corner, Buckingham were lucky to survive the drive from the line-out when the ball was knocked-on at the line.
Buckingham had several first choice players absent through injury, and after just 10 minutes this situation lost Josh Graham to a pulled hamstring after the winger made an exciting chase after Charlie Gulliver’s break and chip ahead to the left corner.
The hosts began to believe, sparking a spell of intense pressure in the visitors’ 22.
They won a series of penalties, but failed to turn pressure into points –even when Bassett’s second row was sin-binned.
The visitors ran their way out of defence and on 23 minutes went ahead when a clever grubber kick was followed up by the outside-half who then converted his own try.
This galvanised Buckingham and the game swung their way when Harry Scarr scored a try wide out on the left 10 minutes later, after excellent passing and swift offloads.
Kinman converted and the teams turned round at half-time level at 7-7.
The early phases of the second half all belonged to Bassett, and 13 minutes in, they won a line-out following a deft kick to the corner and the visiting pack drove over the line. A good conversion from out wide made it 14-7.
Buckingham again reacted well to setback and took the game deep into their opponents’ territory for more sustained pressure.
The Bassett loose-head prop was sin-binned, reducing the game to uncontested scrums for a while, but again the hosts were unable to produce points while on top.
Finally, after a series of penalties, Ed Kinman kicked for goal and cut the gap to 14-10 going into the final quarter.
Bassett were restored to 15 and resumed control – mainly through the strength of their tight scrummaging.
A penalty in front of the posts from just outside the 22 was easily converted to return Bassett’s lead back to seven.
Fatigue began to set in, but the hosts raised their game again. Just before full-time, the Buckingham pack spent 10 minutes on the Bassett line before Stuart Craker scored halfway out to the left.
The conversion kick to level agonisingly hit the left post.
Injury time was a torrid affair as Buckingham chased the game, and when Bassett infringed wide out on their own 10-metre line, the hosts were forced to go for glory with the last kick of the game.
But Kinman’s gallant effort fell just under the crossbar.