Eton Manor's quest for promotion ended in heartbreak for the second season running as they were defeated 25-16 by Chichester in their play-off match on Saturday.
After falling to Basingstoke at the same stage last season, Manor again came up short once more as they lost at the hands of Chichester - competing in their first promotion play-off.
Speaking on Tuesday, head coach Jamie Connors admitted his side were still reeling from the loss of a game which only slipped away from them in the final minutes.
"I think we're still hurting a little," admitted Connors. "It's very difficult for the boys to take, they have been cracking all season so it was disappointing for them. We did all we could on the day."
Connors continued: "We're pretty disappointed to lose the play off game again; to not get anything out of it is disappointing, but overall we've had some good performances from the boys this season."
The game started encouragingly for Manor, who were ahead after three minutes when Callum McKie kicked a penalty after Chichester were penalised for collapsing the scrum.
After 15 minutes the game was turned on its head when Barney Newbury was sin binned for illegally stopping a Chichester lineout, a setback to which Connors felt his side "reacted well".
Just five minutes after going down to 14 men, Manor found themselves behind as Chichester went ahead with a converted try.
McKie added his second penalty just before the half-hour mark, scoring from 35 yards after a no-arms tackle on Reece Reed.
Manor then took the lead before the break with their first try, Will Mowbray crossing the line after Michael Eghan was stopped just short.
The lead was extended to 16-7 when Egan ran in Manor's second try before the break, with Chichester down to 14.
Chichester began the second period in determined fashion and reduced the deficit when Manor were reduced to 14 once more for an off-the-ball incident.
Securing a lineout ten metres from the Manor line, Chichester crossed the line but missed the conversion to make it 16-12 to Manor.
A second try followed for Chichester, handing the hosts a 17-16 lead with the conversion missed.
It was 22-16 soon after as the Chichester 13 crossed the line, but again the conversion was missed, leaving Eton Manor with a way back in with five minutes to play.
That hope was finally extinguished when Chichester converted a penalty with the last act of the game, meaning Manor will compete in the London One North again next season.