Whitby RUFC’s 1st XV were left frustrated once again after suffering the narrowest of defeats at Whitley Bay Rockcliff on Saturday.
A failed last-minute conversion attempt saw the Maroons slip to a 19-18 reverse, the fifth time this season they have ended up losing out by less than a single score.
“It’s hard to take losing by such a fine margin, we’ve been within one score of avoiding defeat on a number of occasions this campaign,” team manager Matt Jones said.
“I think it’s probably a mental thing, the lads just need to learn that knack of winning games when it’s tight and the pressure is on.
“At Whitley Bay, we had a conversion to win the match. It was a 50/50 kick, it fell just short and we ended up losing. That’s how fine the margins are.”
Whitby were among the favourites for relegation from Durham & Northumberland Division Two following their promotion last season.
Despite this, the Maroons currently sit in 11th place, two positions and 19 points above the drop zone.
They have claimed five wins and 13 bonus points already, and in addition to Saturday’s close encounter at Whitley Bay, they have lost by just three points to Hartlepool and by a four-point margin against Barnard Castle, Winlaton and Seaton Carew.
“We’re a really young side and it’s testament to how far we’ve come as a team that we are so competitive in this division,” Jones added.
“Earlier this season, and in previous campaigns we’ve suffered a lot of heavy defeats at this level, but we’ve improved massively.
“We got hammered by Whitley Bay and Barnard Castle early on this season, but when we’ve played them a second time in recent weeks we’ve almost beaten them.
“These performances bode well for the future, and if we can keep this group of players together and they keep learning then I think we can look to be ambitious in the future.”
The Maroons will be aiming to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they host Wallsend at the Showfield, 2.15pm kick-off.