HEAD coach Will Croker admitted he had been proud to build Bournemouth’s impeccable home record – and described it as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Lions extended their winning home run in South West Premier with a 47-17 victory over Bracknell on Saturday.

Success marked a staggering 464 days since Bournemouth had last been toppled at Chapel Gate, that had been a 15-14 loss to Dings Crusaders on October 7, 2017.

Since that setback, Croker’s men have won 17 times on their own turf – a feat he believes is built on an electric atmosphere.

He told the Daily Echo: “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you win, the more people want to come and watch. Therefore, you get a bigger gate and it feels more like a fortress.

“Winning is a habit and to have such a good home record – the guys turn up on a Saturday expecting to pick up the points.

“When I first turned up at the club everybody used to say about how difficult it was to get wins on the road but Chapel Gate was always a difficult place to come.

“We are the most easterly club. Most of the other sides travel a fair distance to get to us, in the same way we have to go to them.

“In recent years the home experience is completely different.

“There are guys in the crowd with drums, chants of ‘Lions, Lions, Lions’ constantly going which we just never had. We had one man and his dog turn up.

“It is an event now. It’s not just promoting a local rugby match. We have some fairly high-profile business people who are championing it.

“It’s become a real thing and the players love it. It shocks people, they don’t expect it at our level and we are very proud of it.”

Croker, also the club’s director of rugby, insisted his troops had not been at their best in chalking up their 15th win from 16 league games this season.

Lions had led 14-7 at the interval thanks to tries from captain Joe Rees and Jack Hennings.

Tom Napier, Dan Stewart, Ali Bennett, Sam Hardcastle and Karim Lynch all touched down in the second period.

“We scored 47 points in a game where I wouldn’t have said we were in top gear,” added the Bournemouth boss.

“I don’t think anyone came off the pitch feeling elated. It was very much a functional performance.

“We almost drew a line under it in the team huddle afterwards and ticked it off as a job well done with five points in the bag.

“It was not a collector’s item.”

The result increased to 12 points Bournemouth’s advantage at the league summit.

Title-rivals Barnstaple failed to pick up a bonus point at home against Brixham, who Croker’s men visit on Saturday.