Aberdeen Grammar slid out of the Premiership play-off places after a 16-14 loss to Selkirk.
The hosts failed to master the poor conditions at Rubislaw, while being unable to break down the stuffy visiting defence, and were left with the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Grammar have now lost five of their last six games, and with another testing trip on Saturday to meet Jed-Forest, a bleak festive season beckons.
Head coach Ali O’Connor was disappointed with the outcome, especially after the fine start that saw back rowers Greig Ryan and Nat Coe scoring well-taken tries, both converted by Tom Aplin.
“It’s now up to us to make amends when we go to Jed,” said O’Connor.
If it’s tough going for Grammar it is equally hard for neighbours Gordonians who once again failed to take their chances at home to Preston Lodge.
In losing 17-10 at Countesswells they did manage a losing bonus point for being within seven points of the visitors’ total.
Head coach Ryan Morrice said: “We are just not getting the breaks, and we are still in the relegation area in National League 2, but didn’t lose too much ground.”
In the final of the Caledonian Regional Shield, Orkney beat visitors Dunfermline 17-7. In the Bowl final, Aberdeen University knocked out last year’s winners Aberdeenshire at Woodside, 22-12.
Orkney and Aberdeen University will now go on to represent the area in the semi-finals of the National Bowl.