LITTLEHAMPTON Rugby Club suffered a narrow 19-17 defeat away to St Francis in Sussex League Division 2 West on Saturday.
St Francis consolidated fourth place in the table with the win, while Littlehampton remain fifth and are now nine points behind St Francis with two games to play.
Littlehampton opened the scoring when St Francis missed touch with a penalty and Ben Best picked up the ball and ran through to touch down. Mike Edmunds added the conversion to put Littlehampton 7-0 ahead.
St Francis quickly responded and, after some well-timed passes, broke through for an unconverted try.
The remainder of the half was even but St Francis got a converted try on the stroke of half-time to take a 12-7 lead into the break.
A lucky bounce at the beginning of the second half allowed St Francis to extend their lead to 19-7 with a converted try.
Littlehampton then put their hosts under intense pressure and got their reward with 20 minutes to go when Chris Strange was driven over but Craig Walters was unable to add the extras.
With five minutes left, Littlehampton got their third try when Adam Grady and Will Hoare combined to set up Matt Atkinson, who went over in the corner. Walters’ conversion went wide and, despite a massive effort in the closing stages, Littlehampton were unable to grab the win.
Littlehampton’s next game is away to Worthing Senior 2nd on Saturday.
LITTLEHAMPTON: Simmons, Carter, Keirle, Strange, Rose, Wood, Ritchie, Boddington, Elliott, Grady, Edmunds, Hoare, Best , Atkinson, Walters, Hird.