Any hopes Doncaster Phoenix had of a New Year turnaround in their fortunes were thwarted by Cheshire visitors Lymm who came from behind for a 17-10 victory at Castle Park.
It was Phoenix’s ninth straight defeat but a big improvement on their 48-5 hammering by Wirral before the Christmas break.
Will Burden’s 80th minute penalty goal earned the home side a losing bonus point – only their fifth bonus from 16 National Three North matches.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a penalty goal by full-back Cormac Nolan.
However, two minutes later Phoenix edged in front when No 8 Adam Kettle ploughed over for their only try of the match.
Fly-half Jamie Lennard landed the conversion to put Phoenix 7-3 ahead, and there was no further score until just before half time when Nolan pulled back a second penalty for the visitors.
Nolan’s third penalty put Lymm back in front at 9-7 four minutes after the restart.
And Phoenix were left with an uphill task when centre James Kimber raced over for Lymm’s lone try as the game approached the three-quarter mark.
With the try going unconverted, Phoenix were still in with a chance of a bonus point for losing by seven points or less, but it took them until the final minutes of the game to secure it.
Nolan slotted over his fourth penalty on 65 minutes to put the visitors ten points clear, but Phoenix matched it when Burden hit the spot.
Phoenix finished the game a man short after prop Tom Bagnall had twice been yellow carded.
The result means Phoenix stay 11th in the table.
Wheatley Hills started 2017 with a convincing 46-0 defeat at Alnwick in North One East, as they still search for their first win of the campaign.
A strong first half defensive display saw the visitors restrict Alnwick to just an eight-point lead at the interval.
Mistakes came in the second half though with handling errors and poor passing gifting the hosts points, two tries coming from interceptions and a penalty try being conceded as well.
Moralee, Brewis, Warcup, Cuthbert and Hamilton all went over for Alnwick, leaving Hills still six points adrift of Guisborough at the bottom of the table.
Thornensians slipped a place in Yorkshire Two when they were beaten 17-10 at Ripon.
It was another close game for Thorne, who were pipped 20-19 at Ripon at Coulman Road earlier in the season.
Once again, it could have gone either way, but in the end fourth-placed Ripon just about deserved their victory despite Thorne dominating the second half.
Ripon scored all their points in the first half, Thorne mossing their one chance to score when they went offside.
The visitors gradually got back into the game after the turnaround, and the breakthrough came after 12 minutes when right winger Ross Haley took a pass from prop Aidan Smith and ran through to score at the corner flag.
Ollie Cox missed the difficult conversion, and he was left with another hard task when, five minutes later, he himself raced in to score Thorne’s second try in the same right corner.
Wath consolidated their position in mid-table when they ran in six tries on their way to a 34-10 victory at tailenders Sheffield Medicals.
Rossington Hornets were beaten 29-12 at home in their Yorkshire Five clash with Garforth.