WILL Croker hailed his side’s “mental application” after they came from behind to seal a bonus-point win at Drybrook.
The Bournemouth head coach admitted his charges “weren’t playing well” in stages at Mannings Ground but toughed it out to claim a 27-14 success.
Victory extends to eight games Lions’ winning run in South West Premier. They are four points ahead of Ivybridge, who beat Newton Abbot 24-17 on Saturday.
Croker told the Daily Echo: “I was delighted with the mental application. It was one of those games where in years gone by, being down at the break, we may have struggled to have won it.
“This season it wasn’t enough just to win it, we still had to go hunting the bonus point.
“Even though we weren’t playing well, to get five points on the road at a very tough place was a real credit to the boys and they really did stick at it.”
Bournemouth had opened the scoring in Gloucestershire when Freddie Gleadowe set up Jack Hennings to touch down.
But Drybrook, who had come up from South West One West last season, hit back in rapid fashion.
Centre Ben Large stepped inside to score and Ollie Moore added another. Both tries were converted as the hosts raced into a 14-5 lead.
Bournemouth’s Luca Firetto crashed through to reduce to two points the deficit before the interval.
The visitors regained the advantage with a try from Ali Bennett just after the hour mark. Mike Pope then landed a successful penalty to put Lions 22-14 ahead.
Croker’s men were not done there however and grabbed a crucial bonus point in the dying moments. Intense pressure allowed hooker Alan Manning to go over.
The Bournemouth boss added: “The message at the break was that it had not been the standard we expected of ourselves.
“As the players looked around they realised that we had missed too many tackles and were not playing the game we wanted.
“However, we had asserted scrum dominance. The scrum was functioning really well and put a huge amount of pressure on them.
“It meant if we did make an unforced error there was a chance we would get the ball back.
“Their ball carriers were hard boys to stop and they just kept going. We had to show some real fortitude, keep our shape, discipline and try to play our way back into contention.”
Bournemouth have dropped just one point so far this campaign. They host Exeter University at Chapel Gate on Saturday (2.30pm).
Source : BournemouthEcho