LITTLE changed at the foot of National Two South at the weekend, despite Bournemouth suffering a heavy 51-14 defeat away at the hands of Dings Crusaders.

Lions had half an eye on scoring some much-needed league points when they took the trip to Bristol on Saturday, with their opponents sitting 11th in the table and on a run of just two wins from six this calendar year.

But performance director Richard Sharp was realistic as he led a matchday squad containing a blend of experience with plenty of youth.

“The relentless nature of the campaign at this level has taken its toll,” he said. “We have some tired boys and a long injury list.”

Dings opened the scoring with a try through centre Marcus Brooker, converted by fly-half Steven Plummer. Lions responded only five minutes later with a try of their own as hooker Alan Manning continued his fine form with his fourth try since the Christmas break. Grant Hancox, playing at full-back instead of his usual position of scrum-half, added the conversion to bring the score back level at 7-7.

Immediately, though, Bournemouth seemed to hit the self-destruct button, making costly mistakes in the 10 minutes leading to half-time.

First, flanker Anton Welling showed his pace from distance as he scored from an interception pass, before Lions scrum-half Sam Hardcastle received a yellow card, with Plummer making no mistake from the subsequent penalty. To compound Lions’ misery, they lost goal-kicker Hancox to injury, and the home side scored again just before the break through centre Matthew Smith to send Dings ahead 20-7 at the break. The dismissal of Dings prop Joshua Lloyd after the restart gave Lions hope with Hardcastle returning from the bin to score a try on 49 minutes.

But that was as good as it got for Bournemouth as Dings powered clear in the final quarter of the match. Plummer, Brooker, William Roberts, Welling and Thomas Anderson all crossed the whitewash.

“The boys played exceptionally for 55 minutes, and it looked like we could have pushed for a result,” said Sharp.

“Dings’ fitness and size began to tell, but the spirit was second to none, and we went down swinging.”

Bournemouth remain at the bottom of the table in a struggle to avoid relegation, nine points off Sutton & Epsom and safety.

Lions: Hancox, Gleadowe, Kingswell, Snell, Higgins, Chislett, Hardcastle, Davies, Manning, Firetto, Roberts, Kenneally, Griffiths, Warwick, Hughes.

Reps: Carkeet, Goodall, Rees, Wayman, Palmer.