HEAD coach Will Croker admitted he did not care about Bournemouth’s 20-17 loss at relegation-threatened Newbury Blues.

First-half tries from Tom Napier and Dan Stewart did not prove enough as Lions closed their regular-season campaign in South West Premier with defeat at Monks Lane.

With the Chapel Gate outfit set to take on London & South East Premier outfit Guernsey in their promotion play-off on Saturday, Croker was eager to look at the bigger picture.

Reflecting on Lions’ second defeat to Newbury this season, he told the Daily Echo: “It’s something I have already marked in the locker: ‘don’t care’.

“A line was drawn under it as soon as the final whistle went. I wish Newbury all the best and I hope they do well this weekend in a game they have to win to stay up.

“We had a very brief chat as a group after and we were together on the fact that game does not define us.

“I don’t think any of us have taken anything which happened as a sign of what is going to happen on Saturday. It was a strange game against very fired-up opposition.

“The players are old enough and experienced enough not to put too much importance on it and move on.”

Despite falling behind to an early penalty, Lions responded when Stewart found space to cross for his fourth try in as many games and Grant Hancox added the extras.

A fracas then broke out which meant Bournemouth’s Richard Sharp ended up in the sin bin and Newbury regained the advantage when Josh Love touched down under the posts.

But Napier managed to power over just before the break to earn Lions a 14-10 lead.

With Croker opting to take off loosehead Napier and scrum-half Sam Hardcastle after they picked up injuries, Lions failed to keep hold of their first-half advantage.

Newbury ran in a converted score and Oliver Millner kicked a penalty, Hancox had the opportunity to level the game late on.

But having sent a penalty between the posts earlier in the half, he misjudged his effort and Lions were left to contemplate a three-point reverse.

Croker added: “There were something like 40 penalties in the game which means a penalty every two minutes. It lost its flow.

“We know we have to be better next time out. We have to look at the video and work out why the referee kept penalising us at the breakdown so it does not happen again.”

Giving updates on Hardcastle and Napier, Croker added: “Sam’s knee was a little unstable. We have a great physio team and they will put him back together. He will be fine come Saturday.

“Tom’s neck was more of a stinger than anything else. He has done all the right mobilisation so he will be good to go.”

Lions are also set to have winger Wyn Roberts back for their play-off showdown.

Lions: Kirkpatrick, Stewart, Gleadowe, Chislett, Sutherland, Hancox, Hardcastle, Napier, Manning, Firetto, Treloar, Hennings, Sharp, Bennett, Rees. Substitutes: Fraser, MacDonald, Palmer.