HEAD coach Will Croker said Bournemouth had reaped rewards for upping the tempo having initially taken time to settle against Weston-super-Mare.

Second-half tries from Dan Stewart and Alex Everett-Bolter helped Lions come from behind to triumph 30-27 at Chapel Gate.

Although Harry Davis and Scott Chislett touched down in the first period, Bournemouth reached the break level at 13-13 following a sluggish start.

Grant Hancox added two conversions and two penalties as Lions’ four-try haul also earned them a precious bonus point.

Victory saw them remain third in South West Premier and gain four points on leaders Dings Crusaders who were beaten 15-12 at Maidenhead.

Croker told the Daily Echo: “They were a decent team when we played them at their place and they played well again.

“They are coached by former Premiership player Darren Crompton so they are always going to be organised and he has their scrum working efficiently.

“We didn’t help ourselves in that our line-out didn’t function as we would have wanted.

“We worked hard to get the ball and then contrived in some ridiculous way to give it back almost immediately.

“As we know, defending in rugby is a lot more exhausting than attacking and it took us a long time to get the ball and to really settle into the game.

“We talked at half-time about the fact we needed to impose our game on it, keep the ball for longer periods and to increase the tempo.

“They were heavy in the forwards and we felt we could get real gains if we could keep the ball and make their big boys try to defend for longer periods.

“After about an hour, I don’t know what happened other than a couple of things went our way and that gave us the confidence we needed.

“The tempo picked up, we stopped trying to miracle pass and, all of a sudden, we looked dominant.

“I was disappointed we didn’t pull away further as opposed to allowing them a try at the end which made it a little more nervy than it needed to be.”

Tries from Davis and Chislett, coupled with a penalty from Hancox, cancelled out Harry Jones’s converted touchdown and two James Mackay penalties as the teams reached half-time level.

Stewart went over and Hancox converted to make it 20-20 after Weston had regained the lead early in the second half.

Another Hancox penalty and Everett-Bolter’s converted try saw Lions forge 30-20 ahead before they were pegged back by Jones’s second score, which Mackay converted.

Discussing the bonus point, Croker said: "In the first quarter of the season, we played well enough in games to score four tries but kept getting three and not finishing off teams.

"You can see from the league how tight it is. Dings are top but teams are clustering up behind and bonus points are going to be important, especially at home.

"If you look at the simple maths, if you win your home games with a bonus point and can average two to two-and-a-half points on the road then you will go up so it is important for us to keep winning our home games.

"Across the course of the season, there are 13 matches and, if you don’t get your bonus points, that’s a lot of points to slip behind."

Croker also had words of praise for man of the match Rich Sharp and try scorer Chislett: "Rich just brings a lot with him. He is a wily campaigner and has played some really good rugby.

"He comes with a lot of experience and we need that. We have experienced guys but don’t necessarily have the knowhow of the higher leagues.

"He is a hard and uncompromising character but is also someone who the boys really respect and rally round. He is a very good motivator and was excellent.

"In the backs, Scott stood out. He is another one who has been there for a long time with a lot of experience.

"But this season, he is seemingly getting better and better. His running lines and angles of support are just incredible.

"He led the backline, certainly in the second half. When we needed to up the tempo, it was him with some shuddering hits and some sweet pieces of play with ball in hand which really got us firing."

Lions: Hancox, Davis, Gleadowe, Chislett, Stewart, Davies, Hardcastle, Napier, Manning, Firetto, MacDonald, Hennings, Sharp, McDonald, Rees. Substitutes: Everett-Bolter, Fraser, Treloar.