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Rugby: Ben's golden boot kicks Lions to historic win
LIONS star Ben Stevenson returned to his boyhood club and promptly inspired them to an historic opening-day victory at Chapel Gate .
The Bournemouth-born fly-half kicked 22 points as Lions began life in National Two South with a 32-17 home win over fellow newly-promoted outfit Canterbury.
Stevenson learned his rugby as a Bournemouth junior before moving into the professional ranks with London Irish and London Welsh.
His decision to rejoin Lions after moving back to Dorset was rewarded as he booted six penalties and two conversions in a man-of-the-match performance on his full league debut for the club.
Kick-off was delayed after Canterbury had got stuck in traffic – and the lengthy journey appeared to have taken its toll as Bournemouth raced into a 19-0 lead.
Lions opened up a healthy advantage thanks to their number 10’s boot and a try under the posts from Gavin Hart, following a slick Scott Chislett break.
To their credit, Canterbury responded strongly after the interval with a penalty try on 45 minutes followed by an Alex Veale effort four minutes later.
By this stage, Lions were far less fluent than they had been in a dominant opening 40 minutes, but their nerves were calmed by two further Stevenson penalties.
Canterbury captain Peter Kelly was driven over to reduce the deficit to 25-17.
However, Lions legend Sam Hardcastle produced a blistering run to score a trademark try with eight minutes remaining, killing off any fears of a last-gasp Canterbury comeback.
The victory proved an ideal start to life in the fourth tier of English rugby for Bournemouth – which is the highest level the club has ever competed at.
Lions: K Lynch, Stewart, Connolly, Chislett, Edwards (O’Brien, 50), Stevenson, Hardcastle; Carrell (Featherstone, 66), Wilford, Manning, Brooks (Seward, 71), Forrest, Booth (Andrews, 71), Dunkerley (Cawley, 79), Hart.