Matlock Rugby Club’s frustrations were compounded with a third close defeat on the bounce.
They went down 25-19 at near neighbours Ashbourne, despite starting the game on the front foot.
Captain Simon Wright was shown a yellow card for a high tackle with only two minutes played but it was the visitors picking up the first try, Tim Taylor touching down.
Ashbourne responded well, scoring a try of their own that was aided by some sloppy defence and a pass that looked forward, to take a 7-5 lead.
On 15 minutes the home side took the lead with a well taken try out wide when again Matlock’s defensive organisation was found wanting.
Matlock regrouped and responded well. At the restart Ashbourne knocked on, Matlock seized upon the loose ball and Atkinson eventually went under the posts.
Tom Morton added the extras to level at 12-12.
Matlock lost a couple of players to injury and then began to get frustrated with the referee, finding themselves penalised for appealing a decision, leading to a successful penalty kick from the hosts.
Again Matlock responded well, working their way upfield to a strong attacking position.
Awarded a penalty five metres out Matlock, chose to scrum and after the Ashbourne pack broke up for a second time, a penalty try was awarded to nudge Matlock 19-15 in front.
But the second half began badly, Ashbourne winning the restart and scoring out wide.
A couple of chances came and went for the visitors, before Ashbourne increased their lead on 70 minutes from a catch and drive, leaving
Matlock looking for a converted try to get the victory.
The pacey George Whittaker found himself on the end of two overlaps, either of which should have ended in a score, but the final passes to him were both very poor and the chances were wasted.
As the game moved into the last five minutes, Matlock piled on the pressure and despite spending all the remaining time literally pounding the Ashbourne line, they could not force the winning score.
This weekend Matlock are at home to Ashby, who recorded a good win over Market Rasen in their latest game.
A club spokesperson said: “At the moment results aren’t going our way due to small margins.
“More hard work on the training ground will hopefully see fortunes change.”
Matlock XV: Wright, Bolam, Statham, Taylor, Atkinson, Emmerson, Jackson, Wright S, Morton, Young, Howard, Morton H, Boyd, Thornley, Whittaker. Subs: Loughnane, Cookman, Hooton.