BOURNEMOUTH head coach Will Croker was forced to take a spot on the bench during his side’s 51-39 victory at Ivybridge in South West Premier on Saturday.

Croker, who had been suffering with illness, made the decision to name himself among the replacements after James Thorne suffered an injury during the warm-up in Devon.

And the Lions boss, who admitted he was “not a big fan” of coaches using themselves as cover in teams, was relieved not to have made an emergency appearance and remained an unused substitute.

Asked what the chance had been of him taking to the field, Croker told the Daily Echo: “Absolutely no chance. I was feeling so ill.

“I was looking around and I thought, ‘I’m going to have to do this, aren’t I?’.

“I put the kit on and those tight kits aren’t as flattering as they should be! I would have only gone on if everyone’s legs had fallen off, there was no way otherwise.

“I have only played a couple of games in the past two years. I am fit enough to probably get through 15 minutes if I had to.

“If somebody had got themselves injured then I would have gone on but I never think it sets the right example for the coaching team to name themselves. I’m not a big fan of it.

“Our job is to coach players to be better, not to then think we haven’t done our jobs properly so we need to pick ourselves. I will only do it in an absolute emergency.”

Despite the pre-match disruption, Lions recorded their third league victory on the bounce with a bonus-point triumph, meaning they sit third in the table.

There were two tries each for Sam Hardcastle and Alex Everett-Bolter, while Alex Sutherland, Frazer Wilford and Adam Davies also touched down for the visitors.

Bournemouth raced into a commanding 26-0 advantage early on but were pegged back by a couple of scores from the hosts in the latter stages of the first half.

Croker’s men led 29-15 at the interval and kept their noses in front until the end.

The head coach added: “All in all I will take the win, it was a great win and another tick in the box but there were certainly things to learn.

“We need to have that ruthless edge when we get that far in front.

“Ivybridge are a really good team – their scrum-half and full-back are two of the best backs in the division.

“Their league position actually doesn’t do them justice at all. I am fully expecting them to turn that around and head in the right direction.”

Victory means Bournemouth have six wins from their opening nine league contests.

They host bottom side Hornets at Chapel Gate on Saturday (2.30pm).