North Wales Crusaders A lost 34-14 at St Helens side Garswood Stags in round four of the North West Men’s League.
Both sides went into the clash unbeaten, although Crusaders were missing a number of their more experienced players.
The A team competed well throughout, but three tries in a 15-minute period before half-time were crucial in the end result.
Garswood, who are coached by former Great Britain international Paul Loughlin, proved to be the bigger, more physical and well-organised side on the day.
Despite losing a couple of players through injury early on and trailing at half-time, Crusaders put in a good account of themselves after the break, drawing the second-half 10-10.
Tim Neale, Alfie Matthias and Callum Leonard were North Wales’ try-scorers on the day.
Crusaders A head coach Mike Newton said: “This team will continue to develop, work hard and evolve as the season progresses.
“We showed some impressive play at times and, only for a few unforced errors, the final score would have been much closer against one of the division’s promotion favourites.”
Next up for the A team is a home clash with Saddleworth Rangers A at Deeside Leisure Centre from 2.30pm on Saturday.