Solihull Bees went down 20-10 to visitors Walsall in a typical wintery fixture in which handling errors in the muddy conditions helped decide the outcome.
The hosts took an early lead as a result of Walsall’s persistent penalty count.
Using their powerful scrum to good effect, Bees then moved the ball wide to full-back Jamie Knott who went over in the corner after a well-worked backs move.
Walsall responded well and produced a series of promising attacks, eventually breaking through after strong forward carriers made good ground and when the ball went wide, Bees eventually ran out of numbers, allowing the Walsall winger to score.
That converted score gave the visitors the lead but it did not last long as another typically powerful drive by Bees from a line-out, resulted in hooker Nick Waite crashing over to score.
Walsall hit back with several probing attacks and when the hosts gave away too many penalties in the 22, Walsall took their chance to level from the tee.
Walsall took the lead again just before half-time, crossing the line after a ten-metre drive from a line-out.
Ten minutes into the second half Walsall extended their lead to ten points after Bees were once again penalised at the break down.
Both teams had scoring opportunities but a combination of good defending and handling errors resulted in a stalemate for most of the half.
Bees will be disappointed at failing to take advantage of some good field positions with their line-out causing Walsall all kinds of issues.
Bees crossed the whitewash with two minutes left to play thinking they had salvaged a losing bonus point, only for the referee to judge the ball had been held up.