WILL Croker admitted Bournemouth had only themselves to blame after they were stunned 25-0 by lower-league Havant in the Hampshire Cup final.

In a repeat of the 1975 final – the last time Lions competed – they were left to contemplate falling at the last hurdle.

Croker's much-changed side trailed 3-0 at the break at Hooks Lane but the London One South hosts pulled away after the restart.

The head coach told the Daily Echo: "There's no dressing it up – of course everyone goes into a cup final wanting to win it.

"We had to make some tactical decisions in the build up about where our priorities lay and who we rested. We were missing a lot of experience but we had a squad which was more than capable of winning the game.

"In the first half an hour, Havant barely touched the ball. They had one insurgence into our 22 which I can remember. We dominated play and looked strong and confident but our conversion rate was really poor.

"Havant held firm and were organised in defence, and hit us with a couple of counter-strikes in the second half.

"I'm disappointed and I think everyone was. The guys we brought in were not second-rate players so it's not like we chucked in a load of kids, we still had enough to win. But on the day, we didn't perform."

Lions now turn their attentions back to South West Premier, where they hope to finish second and earn a play-off spot.

Croker said: "We will roll our sleeves up and prepare for the next challenge.

"County cups are the icing on the cake compared to the league campaign. Our season will be judged on how we finish.

"If we get to a play-off, which in itself is no mean feat, then we're in another cup final, essentially.

"In some respects, it's been good practice. We know the things we need to do in order to win those games."

On a muddy surface, Lions dominated possession and territory in the first half but a Grant Hancox missed penalty was all they had to show for their efforts.

A penalty from the boot of Joel Knight gave Havant the slenderest of advantages at the interval.

The hosts struck twice in quick succession after the restart. First full-back Darren Bamford went over in the corner, with Knight converting.

Then Scott Morris touched down under the posts and the extras were again added.

Knight kicked another successful penalty and in the closing moments, Harrison Young strolled in for a third Havant try.

Lions: O’Hehir, Davis, Gleadowe, Kirkpatrick, Everett-Bolter, Hancox, Veneroso, Napier, Manning, Hughes, Burns, MacDonald, Carkeet, Bennett, Hennings. Replacements: Fraser, Palmer, Rees, Spiller, Sutherland, Treloar, Wright.

There was also disappointment for Bournemouth III, who were edged out 17-14 by Salisbury III in the Dorset & Wilts Cup final at Swanage & Wareham's Bestwall headquarters.