NTU rugby union 1sts performed admirably at Clifton but were edged out 22-24 against high-flying Leeds University.
It was a spirited display from Trent, who led for much of the game, but were cruelly denied their first points of what has been a challenging return to the Premier North division.
From the off, the boys were pressuring their opponents into mistakes, but kicker Greg Lound failed to convert either of his early penalty opportunities, with both the post and some strong winds counting against him.
When NTU did take the lead, it came through a Robert Alexander try, as he profited from a surging run and offload from Mikey Whettell, and there was a belief that the hosts could build on the advantage.
However, within five minutes, the tables were turned. With their first meaningful attack in the 19th minute, Leeds peppered the Trent 22 and eventually got their rewards after some valiant defending. The conversion gave them a slender two point lead.
This seemed to be no more than a blip for the boys though, and they reassumed control of the match, structuring their attacks well and having the lion-share of the territory.
It took a quick dart from Sam Ismail to make it count, and Lound converted, which marked the final score of the opening half.
The game was finely poised at 12-7, but Trent were bossing proceedings, regularly turning over the visitors and recycling the ball effectively.
Leeds recovered after the break, loosening their rivals stranglehold on the game, scoring three tries in a prolific twenty minute spell, in which NTU picked up just three points.
At 15-24 down, Trent hadn’t lost belief, coming at the away side in wave after wave after attack, and just as it seemed it wasn’t going to be the boys’ day, replacement Rob Young found a gap in the previously solid Leeds backline and got over the line.
A conversion from the trusty boot of Lound meant that the boys were just two points behind, and they used the momentum to good effect. Their opponents on the other hand, were looking tentative, a misthrow from a lineout showing that they were feeling the heat.
With the 80 minute mark surpassed NTU knew that one mistake would signal the end of their chances of a first win of the campaign, but to their credit they remained patient in their build-up, going through several phases of play in the process.
There was a decent splattering of Trent support on the sidelines willing the ball over the try line, but Leeds held firm to record their fourth win from five league games, although NTU will take heart from arguably their most impressive performance of the season.
Nottingham Trent Rugby Union 1sts: Chris Muncaster, Callum Powell, Emilio Walsh, Tom Holliday, Richard Bussey, Sam Wallis, Lawrence Coward, Sam Ismail, Will Cotterill, Greg Lound, Jimmy Garner-Currie, Mikey Whettell, Romey Vassell, Sam Smith, Robert Alexander.