Bees must brace themselves for relegation as fellow strugglers Hull snatched victory with a stunning last-gasp try from winger Stephen Hihetah.
Even a maximum five-point success in their final fixture at Otley on Saturday might not be enough to save them now as Bees must rely on other results going in their favour.
More frustrating for the bumper crowd at Portway was the fact Bees were 38-30 up in the final five minutes but couldn’t hold out. It was a point not lost on their director of rugby Eugene Martin, who will step down whatever the outcome at Otley.
He admitted: “That last five minutes just seemed to sum up our entire season but I can’t let it get on top of me. I have a job to do preparing the players for the Otley game.”
The agony for Bees was the fact they looked to have the game in the bag at several stages but Hull refused to lie down and like some stubborn prizefighter, kept coming back. After conceding an early Greg Lound penalty, Bees went 14-3 ahead thanks to tries from skipper Chris Goddard and Aquile Smith. Ever-accurate Adam Canning didn’t miss a kick and converted both tries.
Hull hit back with Adam Corkish, Jon Matthew and Tom Rice tries to lead 18-14 but Bees snatched the advantage back on the stroke of half-time with a second Goddard try. Canning then carved his way through Hull’s defence at the start of the second half to put Bees 28-18 ahead.
Again they couldn’t hold on as Ollie Cook and another Matthew try put Hull 30-28 up. Bees then enjoyed a huge stroke of luck as the referee missed a blatant knock-on and allowed Aquile Smith to score.
Canning converted and then landed a penalty on 72 minutes, which seemed enough to see Bees home.
But Hull wouldn’t give up. Lound landed a penalty on 75 minutes before the inevitable happened.
Hihetah snapped up possession and stormed 60 metres down the left to touch down close enough for Lound to make no mistake with the conversion.