Hemel Stags suffered a narrow 16-14 defeat to South Wales Scorpions in a gripping encounter at the Gnoll Stadium in Neath.
BJ Swindells had the chance to level the scores right at the death, but his tricky conversion attempt was off target and Stags had to settle for a losing bonus point.
After a strong start from Stags, Billy Sheen crossed for a fifth-minute try to put the Scorpions ahead – but that was soon cancelled out by Jamie O’Callaghan.
A break by Jymel Coleman made the hard yards, before the ball went right for London Broncos dual-registered O’Callaghan to scamper over. Swindells missed the conversion so the sides were locked at four-all.
Hemel were looking confident and pressed in search of a second try, but it was the hosts who scored next to regain the lead.
Stags gave away a penalty for ripping the ball and Osian Phillips took advantage to touch down and give his side a 10-4 lead at the interval.
Clearly fired up by coach Troy Perkins during the break, Hemel came out strongly at the start of the second half and soon drew level again.
Jack Molloy was held up, but Swindells was not to be denied on the next tackle and went over before converting his own score to restore parity.
Again the Scorpions came back, however, and Joe Bullock went over eight minutes from time, with a successful conversion restoring the six-point lead.
There was still time for more drama, and Stags had the chance to come away with a deserved draw.
Try-machine Mason Caton-Brown crossed the line in the final minute but Swindells failed to add the goal and the Stags had to settle for their bonus point.
Next up for the Stags is a home clash with Rochdale Hornets on Sunday, and the club has teamed up with Dacorum Community Trust to put on a day of fun for everyone.
There will be a 9-hole crazy golf course at Pennine Way, the Hemel firefighters will be attending with a fire engine, and there will be face painting, caricatures, and fun games for children.
Gates open at 1pm and the game kicks-off at 3pm.