BOURNEMOUTH banished the demons of a torrid few weeks as they emerged 24-23 winners against National Two South rivals Old Redcliffians.

Appropriately, the decisive blow was dealt on the final whistle via the boot of scrum-half Grant Hancox, whose impeccable kicking has brought his side so close so often this season.

Ironically it was Hancox’s most inconsistent performance off the tee to date, with two first-half misses seeing Lions head in at the break trailing 17-12.

And when visiting stand-off Ashley Groves punished the home side’s indiscipline with a 77th-minute penalty, which put the Old Redcliffians 23-21 ahead, the spectre of last-minute disappointments against Leicester and Dings loomed over Chapel Gate once more.

But the script was rewritten when Bournemouth were awarded a scrum penalty 48-metres out with moments remaining.

Hancox held his nerve to slot home and, when the ball went into touch after the restart, elation among Lions was clear to see.

Hancox revealed after the game how he managed to keep his cool.

“I work under a lot of pressure,” he said. “Having Chapel Gate staring down at me was exactly the same.”

It had been a typically slow start for the Dorset club as Old Reds’ flanker Daniel Fry powered over after six minutes.

Minutes later, Hancox missed with his first penalty attempt, but later converted after full-back Alex Sutherland had crossed to bring the score back to 7-7 after 20 minutes.

After a bungled restart by the hosts, Fry crossed again with a successful conversion stretching the lead.

Outstanding work from flanker Matt Warwick - winning his club tie after a torrid time with injuries - enabled Bournemouth to reply on the half-hour with a try in the corner from Dan Stewart.

The second half was tense, with the home team dominating territory and possession and both defences tight and disciplined.

Successive exchanges of penalties left the game poised before Hancox’s late kick proved the difference.

Bournemouth performance director Richard Sharp said: “It was a fantastic effort by our boys. Absolutely wonderful.

“There is no doubt we belong in National Two.”