United Services’ Twickenham dreams were dashed by a 29-3 defeat at Eastbourne in the RFU Junior Vase.
Services opened the scoring with a Jake Webster penalty but that proved to be their only joy all afternoon.
The hosts grabbed a try to lead 5-3 at half-time before taking control after the break.
Eastbourne’s pack pressed home their dominance, extending their lead from a scrummage set-piece at the start of the second half.
Services pushed hard to try to get back in the game but the home side killed them off with two further tries.
‘I can see why Eastbourne are top of their league,’ said Services coach Simon Burns.
‘We had to make a couple of late changes through man flu and that disrupted our front five.
‘Eastbourne played to their forward strength and were worthy winners.
‘Our best forward was 18-year-old Ali Randall and that reflects how young our team are.
‘This bodes well for the future and we have a three-year plan to progress.
‘To go out of the Vase is disappointing but every game is a learning curve for this team.’
Despite the defeat, Services are pleased with progress being made both on and off the pitch.
A lot of hard work is being put in to strengthen links between the club and the local community.
They have just receieved the prestigious RFU Club Accreditation Award.
At the weekend they took 200 youngsters up to the England versus Fiji game at Twickenham.
The club are also on the verge of setting up a full-time Academy in conjunction with Portsmouth College.
‘We intend to start the Academy in September and are hoping it will lay further foundations for the future,’ said Burns.
Services return to Hampshire one action next weekend, hoping to boost their promotion bid when they travel away to Romsey.
‘Hampshire one is a difficult league to get out of because there are no easy games,’ added Burns.