Langholm skipper Nathan Smith vowed his team would be back, after their dream of promotion in their 150th year was cruelly dashed on the final day of the season.
A 38-12 defeat away to rivals Leith meant the Edinburgh club clinched a place in East Division One by just a single point.
But it was always going to be a tough ask to claim the points against a powerful Leith side, who needed four tries to clinch promotion and who set out their stall early on with a penalty and two tries in the first 20 minutes.
A converted pushover try by Steven Nicol reduced the deficit and at half-time the visitors – cheered on by two coachloads of travelling supporters – trailed by just 10 points.
Langholm’s dogged resistance was broken in the second half, however. First Allen carved through a gap in the visitors’ defence to score, and then Mallon touched down for the crucial fourth try.
Joe Kirkup pulled one back for Langholm, but it was Leith who had the final word, when they capitalised from a line-out mistake to run in a fifth converted try.
There were tears at the final whistle, from a team which had given their all
during a Covid-disrupted season, only to miss out on promotion by the smallest of margins.
But despite heartbreak at the last, it has been a campaign to remember for the Milntown men. Finishing on 57 points, they lost only four matches all season, and beat the league champions North Berwick both home and away.
Skipper Nathan Smith said: “It’s a tough one and it hurts – but we will remember this and will head for next season more determined than ever.
“The sheer size of Leith today made a difference, with big, physical players in every position. We tried our hardest, chopping and knocking them back, but the next wave was just as big. But we will be back, because we have a great squad. I am so proud of everybody that has played this season and who got us into this position in the league.”