BOURNEMOUTH head coach Will Croker confirmed the “really nasty” ankle break suffered by Toby Kenneally was set to end his season.

Lock forward Kenneally was stretchered off after just nine minutes of Lions’ 27-21 home defeat to Newbury Blues in their South West Premier opener at Chapel Gate on Saturday.

Croker, who admitted the injury “left a bad taste in the mouth” insisted the club would do all they could to aid Kenneally during his spell out of action.

He told the Daily Echo: “Toby breaking his ankle so badly knocked us a little bit.

“It was dislocated and broken. It was a really nasty one and it will be a season-ender for him.

“It was a real blow because he is self-employed and it goes to show what these guys do in terms of putting their bodies on the line.

“He now has a really nasty ankle break and the guy is a tree surgeon.

“It’s going to be a long winter for Toby now. We are just going to have to rally round and do all we can to help.

“He was at the ground on Thursday for 12 hours jet washing the stand and the patio areas. He is a proper club man and, for us, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

“It will be his season over.”

He added: “We are a family club and a community club.

“We will do all we can to help Toby out.

“He will always be involved and we will make sure he is okay.”

Lions named two debutants for their clash against the Blues, who had sealed promotion from South West One East last term.

Loosehead Stephen Jenkinson was in the starting XV, while Richard Sharp, who replaced Kenneally, initially took a place among the replacements.

The fixture came as a memorable occasion for legendary Bournemouth scrum-half Sam Hardcastle.

He chalked up his 300th senior appearance for the club, having made his debut in March 1999.

Number-eight Joe Rees also brought up a milestone with his 100th start, it was also his 25th game as Bournemouth captain.

But on what was a momentous occasion for the Chapel Gate side in their new colours of red and black. They fell behind early.

Some slick handling on the right allowed Newbury to release full-back Toby Thorne, who darted inside to score inside the opening two minutes.

Newbury fly-half Richy West added the extras.

Lions were then dealt the huge blow on nine minutes when Kenneally was stretchered off.

And, after a lengthy delay due to the injury, things then got worse for the hosts as they conceded a second try.

This time, Blues skipper Dan Thorne touched down out wide.

West again converted to give Newbury an early 14-0 advantage.

But Lions then responded, and took their chances when the opportunities arose.

Grant Hancox sent a penalty over from in front of the posts, before Croker’s side recorded their first try of the new campaign.

After Bournemouth kicked a penalty to the corner, a catch and drive line-out move created space for fly-half Adam Davies to make the score when the ball was shifted.

Despite being a man down and under the cosh with Jenkinson in the bin towards the end of the first half, the hosts took the lead two minutes before the end of the opening period.

After being awarded a penalty in midfield, Lions broke the line and fed Davies, who raced in to score his second try of the afternoon. Bournemouth went in 15-14 up at the break.

Hancox and West then traded penalties following the interval – the former bringing up his 500th career point for Lions in the process.

But while Bournemouth added another three points, a third try for Newbury put them in the ascendancy.

After the Blues gained a loose ball, they recycled for flanker Ollie Sapswick to cross the whitewash, in what proved a pivotal score for the visitors.

West added another conversion and a penalty shortly after to send Newbury into a 27-21 lead.

Hancox, who had enjoyed a solid day with the boot, then pulled a penalty attempt wide at a key moment, as Bournemouth attempted to rally.

Newbury kicker West fluffed his lines from a central area at the other end as the hosts were penalised for offside.

Hancox also found himself sin-binned late on, as Bournemouth got their campaign off to a negative start, despite managing to record a losing bonus point.

Croker added: “We weren’t good enough.

“For the quality of players we had and the squad we had, and how hard they worked in pre-season, it wasn’t acceptable.

“There were too many of our better players who didn’t have their A game.

“Fair play to Newbury, their desire was incredible.

"They were on every second ball before we were.

“We gave away the ball too easily with so many uncharacteristic unforced errors.

“It’s the stuff we do day in, day out in training which we were poor on. It was often by players with it being uncharacteristic for them to do so.”