George Down’s try hat-trick was not enough to earn South Molton a win at Plymstock Albion Oaks.
Molton had to pry old players out of retirement to get two sides out on Saturday and some of the gaps showed for a while in a 32-23 defeat.
Oaks were on top for most of the first half, but after the break Molton came back strongly and with minutes to go only trailed 25-23.
A missed penalty cost Molton a chance to get ahead and Oaks countered to score a try that put the game beyond the visitors once and for all.
Reece Eury, the Molton captain, said considering the problems getting a side out he was not about to complain.
"An extra one or two per cent and we could easily have won," said Eury.
"We are still settling down with a new side and if we can run a top side like Plymstock this close then I am happy as we are only going to get better."
Ben Smart kicked two penalties and two conversions for Molton, who are away to Veor this Saturday.