It took the might of Sileby Town to end Deepings’ hopes to going through the Midlands Four East (South) with a 100 per cent home record.
A slow start handed the league champions a two-try advantage withing the first ten minutes at Linchfield Road, leaving the Green Machine too tall a mountain to climb in the end.
Captain Lance Charity forced his way over the Sileby try line just before half time to give Deepings a chance, with Chris Owen’s conversion making it 7-14 at the break.
Then prop Gareth Silverwood bulldozed his way through the Sileby defence to bring the home side to within two point as Guy Cunningham missed the conversin attempt.
But two late Sileby tries, as Deepings tried to force the issue, ended the match as a contest.
Defeat was not the way to go into a Hunts & Peterborough Cup Final against Peterborough 2nds tomorrow (Saturday).
But Deepings coach Nobby Coupland said: “We went to Sileby at the start of the season and lost 33-17.
“So if you look at where we were then, we’ve come a long way.
“For 25 minutes in the second half we showed what we can do, but ultimately it wasn’t good enough even though we were disappointed to leak two tries at the end.
“We were in the game for 20 minutes of the second half, whereas for the first 40 minutes of the game, the players had an eye on the Hunts & Peterborough Cup Final at Peterborough.
“But fair play to Sileby, they are champions and you can’t afford to miss two chances where we could have scored.
“We’re not a confident team but we’re growing in confidence and if we put that into our game, then we can roll with the punches.”
Coupland singled out versatile centre Alex Millar and winger James McCaskie for special praise ahead of Saturday’s cup final at Peterborough RFC.
“We’ve banded a good team together, with the average age of the players being 26 when before it was 30,” Coupland said.
“We’re a bit bigger than a 20-man squad and both our backs and pack are stronger than before.
“Alex Millar is a very good player who can cover most positions in the back line, James McCaskie is very happy here and it would be fitting for Aram Jones to be able to say “I won a cup” in his first season with us.
“But it depends on what Peterborough team plays because they can call on first team players if they want to.
“We’ve been in the final so many times before so I hope the guys can get something from this season to benefit the work and effort they’ve put in.”
Millar himself said: “I thought we played well in the second half but couldn’t always turn our pressure into points.
“However, I’m looking forward to the weekend when, hopefully, we can finish a good season on a high.”
Full back Aram Jones said: “I’ve loved it at Deepings and all the boys have made me feel welcome.
“That’s what made it an easy move to make (from Stamford College Old Boys), plus the fact that my ambition was to be in the top three in the league.
“In that respect, I couldn’t have asked for a better season and now we’ve got to go into the cup final wanting to do our best.”
Coupland said: “Sileby Town deserved to win the league and we’re satisfied to finish third because in previous seasons we’ve struggled to be out of the bottom two or three.
“So third place is a good return and now we want to develop the club as a good place to be and one where the lads are willing to work.”
DEEPINGS: Green, D. Peacock, Silverwood, Hayward, O. Peacock, Cannell, Hainsworth, Trotman; Charity, Cunningham, McCaskie, Owen, Miller, Squires, Jones, Replacements: O’Connell, Bell, Harrison, Pound, Whitby.