BOURNEMOUTH eventually grabbed a crucial relegation lifeline as Karim Lynch’s late try secured a 24-17 success over bottom club Exmouth.

Lions narrowed to 13 points the gap between themselves and National Two South safety but could be left to rue not gaining a four-try bonus point against the division’s whipping boys.

Rivals Chinnor and Dings Crusaders both gained a precious point despite defeats, leaving the Chapel Gate outfit with just six matches to secure their fourth-tier status.

Jack Metters’ third-minute penalty was all either side had to show for their first-half efforts as Bournemouth took a slender 3-0 advantage into the interval, despite skipper Frazer Wilford being sent to the sin bin after 30 minutes.

In a lively start to the second half, Scott Chislett powered over the line within two minutes of the restart while Metters added the extras to open up a 10-point margin and seemingly put the hosts in control.

However, plucky Exmouth refused to cave in and immediately struck back through Chris Bentley’s converted effort.

The pendulum swung in Lions’ favour once more when Wilford got in on the act, but a penalty try followed by a conversion and penalty from visiting kicker Rob Avery-Wright levelled the match at 17-17 with 13 minutes to play.

But just as Bournemouth needed a hero, up stepped crowd favourite Lynch to score the match winner and keep alive his side’s faint hopes of survival.

  • Bournemouth director of rugby Budge Pountney and head coach Paul Dunne were unavailable for post-match comment.