Old Walcountians paid the price for leaving it late as they went down 25-17 at Kingston in Surrey One on Saturday.
The Counts were missing two of their most forceful forwards in Matt Pridding and Remy Claustres, but this alone did not explain a lacklustre first half performance in which a powerful and efficient Kingston pack won the majority of possession.
The Kingston backs also played well and their fly-half drilled Walcountians backwards with a series of searching tactical kicks.
Walcountians held out until the 17th minute, but a try from Kingston's blind-side flanker after their inside-centre had carved a hole in the defence marked the beginning of the host’s drive towards victory.
Kingston were 12 points up on 25 minutes when their open-side flanker caught Walcountians napping with a touchline break which yielded their second try.
Although Walcountians went close to opening their account two minutes later when flanker Gerry Connor was held up on the line after fly-half Tom Diamond had opened up the Kingston defence, Kingston added their third try in the 33rd minute when their number eight was put clear after his fellow forwards recycled the ball from a ruck in the Walcountians’ 22.
Walcountians were a transformed side in the second half, with the forwards, inspired by skipper Steve Cowlin, starting to compete for possession and showing more aggression in driving play forwards.
The Counts’ dangerous half-backs, Tom and Will Diamond, began to see much more possession and began to run the Kingston defence ragged.
Five minutes into the second half, Walcountians were back in the game after forceful centre Chris Walsh bounced off two attempted tackles and forced his way over for a try.
Walcountians were conceding too many penalties and Kingston’s fly-half successfully converted two kicks to stretch Kingston’s lead.
However, the middle part of the second half saw Walcountians stun Kingston as elusive fly-half Tom Diamond scored two breathtaking tries and put them back in the game.
The first came when he took the ball after the Counts forwards recycled the ball from a ruck and swerved past several defenders to touch down.
The second followed when Steve Cowlin fed the backs and the mercurial Diamond left four defenders in his wake as he danced his way over for a try which he converted himself.
Walcountians’ chance of victory evaporated after they were reduced to 14 players for the closing minutes after lock Pete Cowlin was sin-binned for a late tackle.
Walcountians have no game next Saturday and return to League action on October 20 when they take on newly-promoted Old Cranleighans (kick-off at Clock House is at 3pm).