JUBILANT Will Croker hailed the "perfect" second half as Bournemouth inflicted a first home defeat of the season on much-fancied Exmouth.

Having seized a 20-10 lead at Imperial Recreation Ground, Lions defied brutal winds after the break to maintain their advantage and run out 27-17 winners in the South West Premier clash.

And head coach Croker praised his team's ability to grind down opposition which competed in National Two South last season.

He told the Daily Echo: "We knew the weather would be inclement because Storm Brian was everywhere in the news, so we worked really hard in the week on coming up with an effective game plan.

"It was, effectively, the same one we have always had but we made it slightly tighter and narrower.

"We got down there and the wind was like a monsoon going one way, straight down the middle, so we played to the conditions in the first half. We played well and banged on the door a bit but did not quite get away from them.

"We turned around 10 points up and I wasn't sure that was a fair representation of how strong the wind was, whether we were on par or slightly under.

"But the second half was the perfect example of how to play into the wind by a team at our level.

"They kicked off and we must have kept the ball for 20 or 30 phases, for six or seven minutes. That really gave us confidence and made them think they were in for a long afternoon.

"Whenever they managed to turn the ball over they were in their 22 or in their area and it meant then they had to give it back to us and we kept it."

Croker's only gripe was that his side had narrowly fallen short of a fourth try and a bonus point. But he admitted any kind of away win against the Devon side was something to be swiftly grasped.

He added: "Exmouth are on of the sides who are really fancied.

"If you had given me that score before the game, I would have ripped your arm off but by the end of it I was actually a little disappointed we didn't get the bonus point because we had three or four opportunities to score which went begging.

"I don't want to sound churlish because it was a great result but I felt our performance deserved it."

Grant Hancox kicked Lions into an early lead, only for Exmouth blindside Ben Hawley to reply with a try.

Dancing through tackles, Alex Everett-Bolter then scored under the posts and Hancox landed the goal.

The hosts drove over to level but after Hancox kicked a second penalty, Scott Chislett touched down and Hancox adding the extras.

Following the resumption, Ali Bennett rounded off a thrilling move and Lions had a third converted try.

Although Exmouth scored wide out and Tom Whelan converted, Croker's men held on.

Lions: Hancox, Davis, Gleadowe, Chislett, Everett-Bolter, Davies, Hardcastle, Fraser, Manning, Firetto, Napier, MacDonald, Sharp, Bennett, Rees. Replacements: McDonald, Sutherland, Wilford.