SAM Hardcastle scored four tries as Bournemouth cruised past bottom side Hornets 59-0 in South West Premier.

The legendary scrum-half showed his class to seal a first-half hat-trick at Chapel Gate as well as touching down once more during the second period in a man-of-the-match performance.

His quartet of scores meant the Lions stalwart moved to 182 league tries for the club, from 305 starts.

Hardcastle made his senior debut for Bournemouth against Swanage & Wareham in March 1999 and has since racked up a staggering 943 points, including eight hat-tricks.

And Lions head coach Will Croker claimed the Bournemouth veteran has had to adapt his game to uphold his success.

Asked about Hardcastle following the victory, Croker told the Daily Echo: “We take the Mickey out of him because we regularly hear people calling him a Bournemouth legend.

“We are just ticking off the tries for him and I think we are up to 182.

“He is just playing so well. It took him a little bit of time to establish himself after he realised his game had to change.

“Sam used to be as quick as any winger in our league. He was a breathtaking try-scorer. Naturally, once you get to 36 your top-end speed dips – there is nothing you can do about it.

“He has adapted his game and is just playing so cleverly in what he does.

“The way he finished his tries on Saturday, to gain a first-half hat-trick, was just amazing.”

Bournemouth crossed the whitewash nine times against Hornets with Harry Davis, Scott Chislett, Luca Firetto, Dave McDonald and Alex Sutherland also among the scorers.

Croker’s men have recorded seven wins from their opening 10 league games of the season, meaning they sit third in South West Premier.

And the club’s director of rugby was full of praise for the way his side had taken the sting out of Hornets from the outset.

“Relentless is one our buzzwords. We have it up on the wall in the changing room,” Croker added. “That was exactly how the game felt.

“Hornets were no mugs. They were leading Newton Abbot at the hour point in their previous match.

“They had a little bit about them but we got our noses in front early and, from that point forward, we never took our foot off the pedal.

“What I was pleased with was that we stuck to our processes, stuck to our shape and it was that which drove the score up.

“We kept the ball for a lot of phases and they physically tired because of the amount of defending they had to do.

“I was really pleased, it was a good performance. The key for us now is to be able to do it in consecutive games.”

Bournemouth now turn their attention to their Hampshire Cup semi-final at home against London Two South West side Winchester on Saturday.