LIONS coach Budge Pountney blamed lapses in concentration for his team’s demise as Bournemouth came within touching distance of toppling high-flying Canterbury at Chapel Gate.

When skipper Alan Manning crossed over after gathering a neat offload from Karim Lynch, and George Drake added the extras as part of an impressive kicking display, the home side were level with just under half an hour remaining.

But having touched down three times in the reverse fixture back in October, Canterbury full-back Martyn Beaumont was at it again.

Lions were powerless to stop him as he skipped through the Bournemouth defence and dealt the pivotal blow on 70 minutes to record his second hat-trick against the Chapel Gate outfit this season.

“The boys were bitterly disappointed, they chucked everything at them,” Pountney told the Daily Echo.

“We should have got back into a winning habit. It’s tough for the players and everybody involved to be under this many losses. But the players are a tight group and they pushed a second-placed team all the way.”

Beaumont’s first two scores came within five minutes of each other during the first half and left Bournemouth trailing by 10 points at the break.

Pountney added: “It was just frustrating, there were lapses and it has been like that all season. I think Canterbury scored three soft tries and that’s not because our players are poor, it was just because of lapses in our concentration.

“We had a 20-minute spell before half-time where we played pretty poorly. Paul Dunne gave them a good rinsing at half-time and we questioned what they were about. They stood up in the second half and they showed us, so you cannot ask for much more.”

Jack Hennings added a final score to secure the home side a losing bonus point, but Pountney’s men remain winless since October and sit 20 points from safety in the National Two South standings.

He added: “We said to the boys after the game that they are more than capable of living with any team in this league, and they proved it. They just have to keep playing for some pride and wear the shirt with passion.

“They are so keen to win a game. They’ve had an absolute torrid time of losing by small margins, or giving up a lead. We just have to play with no pressure, do what we are good at and play rugby.”

On whether Pountney was already planning for next term, the former Scotland captain claimed: “We’ve already put a pre-season in place and it’s going to be really physically and mentally tough. Whatever league we are in, we are going to be strong and physically ready for it.”

Bournemouth: Westcott, Roberts, Lynch, Chislett, Stewart, Drake, Hardcastle, Spikings, Wilford, Manning, Hennings, Fuller, Fulljames, Rees, Hart, Terry, Scott, Berthonneau, Metters, Sutherland.