BOSTON Rugby Club lost their first match of the Midland 5 East (North) league campaign as they went down 27-24 at third-placed Keyworth.
But the Blue and Whites held on to top spot, buoyed by the news title challengers Meden Vale suffered a defeat against Ollerton, who Boston scored more than 100 points against.
Below-par Boston, playing only their second match of the new year, left it to the last10 minutes to attempt to overhaul a 17-point deficit, and narrowly failed.
Keyworth were up for the match from the start and began with the advantage of the strong wind.
Boston’s old habits of indiscipline in the loose, talking back to the referee, a stuttering line out and a lack of stability in the scrum compounded matters as Keyworth surged into a 6-0 lead after only 15 minutes, via two penalties.
Boston had to wait until the 35th minute to open their account, Tom Brooks converting a penalty for three points.
After the break, Keyworth started the stronger and scored their first try through sustained pressure on the Boston line, the conversion extended their lead to 13-3.
A loose pass gifted Keyworth a breakaway try as they extended their lead.
The home crowd were sensing a major upset and were helped further when back row Ross Noble was sin binned for an alleged dangerous tackle.
But Boston fought back.
A Joe Deamer try, taken from a quick tap penalty, was converted by Brooks, bringing the deficit to 20-10.
Just when it seemed there was hope, Boston lost their defensive shape and allowed Keyworth to score their third try.
With 10 minutes left, Boston sprung into action, led by fly half Darryn Barratt, who jinked through the home defence to touch down.
The conversion by Brooks reduced the score to 27-17.
Moments later, number eight Steve Loveley scored to narrow the gap further.
But Boston had to concede defeat as the clock ticked down, taking some consolation with.
There was some consolation for the visitors as they secured a losing bonus point, which may prove crucial as the gap narrows between the top three sides.
Another positive was debutant full back James Charlton having an impressive first outing.
On Saturday, Boston will be looking to get back to winning ways as they host Castle Donington at the Boardsides (KO 2.15pm).
BOSTON: Kemp, Wilson, Deamer, Betts, Enderby, Stokes, Noble, Pedley, Barratt, Cumber, J. Brooks, T. Brooks, Baldwin, Loveley, Charlton; replacements: Loveley, Sampson, Phoenix, Johnson.