BOURNEMOUTH were defeated at home for the first time in almost two years as they fell 37-24 to Worthing Raiders in their first home game back in National Two South.

Will Croker’s men, promoted after a stellar season as champions in South West Premier last campaign, had previously not lost at Chapel Gate since October 2017.

But that run was ended at the first time of asking this season, as Lions made the step up back to English Rugby’s fourth tier on their own patch.

And Croker was quick to acknowledge the efficiency of the visitors, who had finished solidly in mid-table last season.

He said: “Our unforced errors invited pressure on and Worthing were very quick to pounce. They scored some good tries.”

An error from the first lineout of the contest gave Raiders a scrum from which they pounced, with Harry Forrest crossing for their first try inside two minutes.

Grant Hancox replied for the hosts with a penalty but Harry Forrest then added his second and Jack Forrest also touched down for the Raiders after 18 minutes.

With the score at 18-3 in favour of the visitors, Bournemouth began to work their way into the game.

A try from Alex Everett-Bolter converted by full-back Hancox fired up the home support.

Lions were then without their share of luck as a second try was disallowed before half-time.

Down 27-10 at the break after Mathew Mclean had also touched down, Bournemouth rallied in the second half.

They matched their more established opponents for substantial periods. Tries for Tom Napier and Sam Hardcastle brought the deficit back to 37-24 and earned the hosts a losing bonus point, which could be significant towards the end of the season.

And head coach Croker is now eager for his charges to improve.

“Now we need to get back on the training paddock and keep working hard on the things we’ve done well,” Croker added.

“There are wins around the corner.”

Raiders’ head coach Jody Levett was happy with his team’s performance.

“We knew we had to get off to a quick start and get some early points on the board, which we did,” he said.

“Bournemouth were a good challenge. They stood a good chance but made some silly mistakes which cost them. They made us work hard at times.”

Lions on Saturday make the trip to Dry Leas to take on Henley before hosting Tonbridge Juddians on September 28.