WILL Croker watched Bournemouth rack up an 11th straight win in South West Premier before admitting unshakeable defence had been the “bedrock” of their terrific start to the campaign.

Lions opened up an 11-point lead at the summit having recovered from an early setback to defeat promotion rivals Ivybridge 20-10 at Chapel Gate on Saturday.

Having had just 128 points scored against them this season, Bournemouth have conceded an average of just 11 per game.

And Croker admitted maintaining a stubborn defence would become more important in the coming months.

He told the Daily Echo: “We conceded a converted try in the first minute, which means we restricted Ivybridge to three points in 79 minutes. That is some performance and we were over the moon with that.

“We average just 11 points conceded per match and I would always back us to score more than that, so it has been an absolute bedrock.

“We had a decent defence last season but since Mike Pope has come in, he has tweaked the way we align and the way we get off the line and go hunting for the tackle, which has made us even more solid.

“We are very pleased with how it is – when you think we have been playing on some quite hard tracks where you would expect people to be running in lots of tries.

“As the weather conditions worsen, defence is going to become more key. You are going to have more low-scoring results.”

Lions’ 11 straight wins is their best start to a league campaign at this level.

They had to battle from behind after Billy Pinkus latched on to Matt Grieveson’s grubber kick moments after kick-off. Damon Ackerman added the extras.

Grant Hancox’s penalty cut the deficit and seconds later, Hancox went over after the ball had been spun wide. Fly-half Adam Davies slotted an excellent conversion.

Ackerman pulled Ivybridge level at 10-10 with a penalty but three points from Davies gave Lions the edge at the break.

Just short of the hour, scrum-half Pope completed a fine move by charging in to score, with Davies’s conversion going over via a post.

For Croker, the result capped one of his best days at the helm since returning to Chapel Gate three and a half years ago.

He said: “We had an amazing pre-match lunch with about 140 people in attendance and there was a huge crowd who were really vociferous and really got behind the boys.

“In terms of overall days, it was one of my most enjoyable since I returned to the club.

“The result, the togetherness the boys showed and the whole club coming together as one was how I envisaged it being when I came back all those years ago.

“It was a really pleasing day all round and it has put us in a strong position, although we know we have to keep our feet on the ground.”