After finishing 2017 on a high note with a victory over Letchworth Garden City, Fullerians were unable to carry their form into the new year on Saturday.
Fullers came into their first game of 2018 leading Old Priorians by four points in the league, but would end it below them in eighth after Priorians eased to a 48-7 bonus-point win.
The defeat was largely defined by a poor second-half offering, which Fullers head coach Rich Hoskins described as one of the weakest he has been in charge for.
“We played ok in the first half and were in the game but that was the worst second half I have seen us play this season if not longer,” Hoskins said.
“Our tackling was woeful, we lost defensive shape and didn’t really produce anything in attack and Old Priorians deserved their win.
“They were a completely different team to the one we beat comfortably earlier in the season, but we were well below par with probably too much Christmas cheer adding to our poor display.”
Fullers set the tone for an abject display when a missed tackle allowed the home side to run in unchecked form the halfway line for the game’s opening score.
They did briefly take the lead, however, when a well-worked catch and drive allowed James Molloy to crash over and Tome Fawssett added the extras.
That was the high point of the afternoon for Fullers though, and despite the remainder of the half being relatively even, Priorians added a second try to lead 12-7 at half-time.
The second half proved to be in stark contrast to the first as Fullers collapsed in the face of consistent home pressure.
A poor kick-off allowed Priorians to set up a scrum which they broke away from and scored the first of 36 unanswered second-half points.
Fullers were at a loss to deal with their opponents’ quick offloads and rarely looked like containing a rampant Priorians.
The result leaves Fullers tied on 41 points with seventh-placed Eton Manor, who have played a game fewer than them.
The pair face each other tomorrow in what Hoskins’ men will view as the ideal chance to return to winning ways in London One North.
That match is followed by a meeting with North Walsham, who occupy fifth spot in the table and victory in both games would take Fullers above next week’s opposition.
Tabard experienced a similarly bleak start to 2018 as they were thrashed 89-7 by London Two North West table-toppers Hampstead.
The defeat means Tabard remain with a solitary win to their name during the 2017/18 campaign and are firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with four points from 13 outings so far.
Despite the one-sided nature of the scoreline, it was Tabard who made the first impression on the scoreboard as they took a 7-0 lead in the 10th minute.
From them on it was one-way traffic and Hampstead ran riot to continue a miserable season for Tabard.
They will look to life themselves in time for the visit of Hemel Hempstead, who sit eighth in the table, tomorrow.