It was heart-break again for Tamworth on Saturday with Barbarians scoring after the bell to snatch a 20-all draw.
Not for the first time in their New England foray a couple of poor decisions at crucial times cost the Magpies, and there was an understandable sense of disappointment, but it was a mighty effort from them to be in a position to win the game.
“It was a game I feel we probably missed our opportunity to win.
“(But) For a team that carried so much injury and unavailability in, and a backline that we threw together on Tuesday night I was really thrilled,” Magpies coach Peter Burke said.
It was a stark contrast to the deflation he felt after their last meeting with Barbarians, when they produced what he described as their worst performance of the year, Burke marking it a one out of 10.
He said Saturday ebbed and flowed he said, with both sides enjoying 10 minute or so blocks where they controlled the game.
“We were dominant in the scrum, which was a great turnaround. They dominated us last time,” he said.
“The line speed was good, the boys tackled their hearts out.”
The lineout was competitive but Burke acknowledged they have a “long way to go there especially our defensive lineout”.
Still it was a heartening showing.
“I can’t remember the last time this rugby club won two games in a row. At 80 minutes we were there,” Burke said.
“It’s all part of our progress and learning curve.”
Kieran McHugh continued to prove a revelation in his switch to breakaway picking up the three points.
Fellow backrower Jack Barker was awarded the two with Dylan Cross and Jerome Baker sharing the one.
Burke also noted that Conor Lang made his first grade debut on the wing, while hooker Nick Wiseman found himself playing at inside centre.
The points from the draw keep them in fourth. Robb edged out college rivals St Alberts 45-43 in the other game.