Nottingham Rugby were left to rue their mistakes when they were beaten 13-17 by Doncaster Knights in the Championship Cup on Friday night.
Poor handling resulted in a myriad of knock-ons for the Green and Whites, who saw two try-scoring opportunities go to waste under the lights at The Bay.
The match began in a similar vein to the previous encounter between the two sides, with both teams equal in possession and territory, however, Knights were the team who broke the deadlock on the 14th minute.
James Malcolm drove over the line off the back of a maul to give the away side the lead, Douglas Flockhart, who kicked well throughout the match, scored the conversion.
Minutes later, Knights added to their lead with a penalty from Flockhart, while Nottingham tried to build some momentum after their difficult start.
The slippery conditions were wreaking havoc with the Green and Whites handling, with a number of dropped balls ruining strong positions.
But the home side battled hard to win a penalty which Gearoid Lyons neatly slotted away on the half-hour mark.
The remaining ten minutes followed a similar pattern, as both sides struggled in possession in a tight and a gritty game.
Nottingham appeared to have regrouped in the second half after James Penman scored a brilliant try two minutes in. Gearoid Lyons converted to bring the sides level at 10-10 and Nottingham appeared to have shaken off their handling woes in the first half.
But Doncaster dug deep and defended the Green and Whites’ attacking play, even if they were aided somewhat by Nottingham’s recurring handling errors.
It appeared to be the Knight’s night when scrum-half Thomas James scored Doncaster’s second try of the match. Flockhart converted once more to re-establish a seven-point lead for the away side.
Moments after kick-off, Nottingham were punished for ill-discipline when Jack Spittle was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
However, Nottingham’s defence, which has been solid throughout this season, held off the Doncaster attack and registered points of their own thanks to another penalty from Lyons in the 60th minute.
The last twenty minutes saw Nottingham spurn two potential match-winning opportunities. Luke Peters broke through the Knights defence at pace but his pass, which would have put Will Millett through on goal, was dropped.
A further opportunity went astray when the Nottingham had a two-man overlap running at the Doncaster backline at pace. Once again, poor handling let the side down.
Knights withstood late pressure from the Green and Whites, winning the game 13-17 under the Friday Night Lights.
The defeat was Nottingham’s first at The Bay since September and their second straight defeat in the Cup, leaving them at the bottom of their group.
However, with four games to go, it’s still all to play for in the group.