A tense finish resulted in The Green and Whites coming up short against Hartpury RFC on Friday night.
The hosts took an early lead after a commanding lineout drive saw Fijian international Akapusi Qera power over for the first points of the game.
The Green and White’s got themselves on the board through the ever-reliable boot of Shane O’Leary, however the Hartpury fly-half, Leeming responded with two penalties of his own to give the Gloucestershire side an 11-3 lead.
Nottingham were forced into making some early changes after a number of significant injuries, however, Sam Spink’s unconverted try just before the break reduced the deficit to 3 points.
On the stroke of half-time, Leeming successfully kicked his third penalty of the game to stretch Hartpury into a 14-8 lead.
The Green and Whites appeared rejuvenated after the restart and began to pressurise the hosts. Nottingham’s relentless attacking threat was rewarded when Will Owen dotted down for a try, which was followed up with a confident conversion from Lyons to take the score to 14-15.
Nottingham’s lead was short-lived after the referee deemed the visitors to have collapsed a driving maul and awarded the home side a penalty try, which saw Llewellyn Jones earn ten minutes in the sin bin.
Shortly before full-time, both teams found themselves down to fourteen after Hartpury lost their replacement loosehead to the sin bin following sustained attacking pressure from the Green and Whites.
Billy Robinson scored a try in the 79th minute to give Nottingham a conversion to win the game but unfortunately, Lyons’ effort strayed just wide of the uprights and the home side claimed a 21-20 victory.
Next up, Nottingham host Richmond at The Bay on Sunday 24 March. Advance tickets can be purchased via nottinghamrugbydirect.co.uk.