BOURNEMOUTH slipped to a second straight defeat, going down 34-28 to Marlborough in another high-scoring thriller at Chapel Gate.

On the opening day of the Regional 1 South Central season, Lions emerged victorious 40-36 over Maidenhead, but found themselves on the wrong end of the score on this occasion, having also been beaten at Bracknell the previous weekend.

Marlborough set the tone early, initiating a rolling maul that culminated in a try.

From the ensuing kick-off, the ball was skilfully secured by Ryan Morrell. A high tackle led to a penalty for Lions, promptly converted by Grant Hancox, narrowing the gap to 5-3.

Lions secured possession from the kick-off, taking advantage of penalties conceded by Marlborough, Hancox kicking his side 6-5 up.

As the first half wore on, both teams fought fiercely, with Marlborough finding themselves conceding penalties. Lions capitalised, gaining valuable ground.

Ryan Woodford's debut, replacing Henry Turner, injected new energy into the game. A well-executed kick found touch, leading to a secured lineout and a subsequent try for Marlborough. With the conversion, they extended their lead to 12-6.

The second half started with a bang, as Marlborough broke through Lions' defence, securing a bonus point and extending their lead to 24-14.

Tensions ran high, with moments of pushing and shoving on the field. Morrell received a yellow card, and Lions were cautioned for penalties. Marlborough's dominance in the scrums persisted, earning them a penalty, allowing them to clear to halfway.

Despite some challenges in the lineout, Marlborough managed to maintain control. Lions' attempts to gain possession were thwarted, leading to another penalty. Marlborough's scrum remained strong, and they executed a kick to touch.

A tap and go penalty attempt did not yield progress, and Lions managed to hold up the play, leading to a scrum awarded to them. In a powerful display, Lions pushed over the line, resulting in a Marlborough try. With a successful conversion, Marlborough took the lead at 17-14.

Both teams displayed exceptional resilience, but Marlborough managed to break through Lions' defence, extending their lead to 29-14.

Lions, however, found their footing in the scrums, allowing them to regain possession and launch an impressive attack. Hancox and man-of-the-match Ash Taylor combined for a spectacular try, followed by a successful conversion, narrowing the gap to 29-21.

The final minutes saw both teams fiercely contesting every inch of the field. Marlborough secured another try, extending their lead to 34-28.

Despite a tense final push by Lions, with Jodie Wayman winning a penalty close to the Marlborough line, Marlborough managed to secure a hard-fought victory.