BOURNEMOUTH boss Will Croker revealed his side engaged in a “heart-to-heart” following their shock 47-24 reverse at Lydney.

Lions’ hopes of securing the second-place play-off spot in South West Premier were rocked as the hosts, who are second from bottom, ran in no fewer than six tries to bag victory at Regentsholme.

Defeat meant Bournemouth remained second by one point after promotion rivals Maidenhead were beaten at home against Newbury Blues and Newton Abbot failed to pick up a bonus point in their triumph at Ivybridge.

However, both sides possess a game in hand on Croker’s men, meaning Lions have held talks to evaluate the run-in.

The head coach told the Daily Echo: “We have had a very positive heart-to-heart as a group since, to discuss where we go next.

“We can choose to do one of two things, either take our destiny back into our own hands and do everything we can to make sure we secure second. Or we roll over, have our bellies tickled and end up finishing fourth.

“I ask a lot of my players already but I have asked over the next nine weeks for them to give me everything they have in terms of commitment and togetherness.

“In most rugby players’ careers, you might get two or three opportunities to play in a promotion-winning side.

“That is not many seasons and this is an opportunity which doesn’t present itself very often. Over the past couple of seasons we have been building to a position to mount this threat.

“We don’t want to get to the end of the season and, at our 125th anniversary dinner, be looking around at one another thinking ‘what if we had just trained a bit more, or done a little bit more as a squad?’.

“We have to re-discover our identity. Once we have that back then I believe we can push on and be the side we were in our really good run before Christmas.”

A sluggish start from the visitors meant Gloucestershire-based Lydney raced into a four-score advantage at 23-0. Bournemouth’s Grant Hancox, who had returned to full-back for the encounter, touched down before the break but it was not to spark a revival for the Chapel Gate outfit.

After two more Lydney touchdowns, a try double for the returning Wyn Roberts and a late score for Jack Hennings earned Bournemouth a bonus point, but that was as positive as it got for Croker’s charges.

“We weren’t good enough. It was a very un-Bournemouth-like performance,” added the club’s director of rugby.

“As soon as we came out of the blocks slowly and gave away a couple of soft tries, because of a couple of individual errors, we knew it was going to be a long day.

“In fairness to Lydney, they did very well. They defended well and did some good stuff.

“We are now at the business end of the season and these teams are fighting for their lives – you would almost rather play teams in mid-table who cannot go up or down.

“Once they got their noses in front it buoyed them so much that we were fighting a losing battle in trying to break them down. But when you score as many tries as we did, as a high-flying side, you should win.

“I was delighted we got the four-try bonus point but the fact was we looked at the table and realised it was a massive opportunity lost.”

Lions: Hancox, Davis, Everett-Bolter, Kirkpatrick, Stewart, O’Hehir, Hardcastle, Napier; Fraser, Manning, MacDonald, Treloar, Hennings, Sharp, Rees. Replacements: McDonald, Roberts, Spiller.