Bournemouth Lions 31-15 Southend: Dominant pack secures vital win
The Bournemouth Lions eased the pressure as they snapped a five-game losing streak against Southend.
A dominant display from the forwards helped the Dorset side power past the visitors, as The Lions pulled away in the second half to secure a 31-15 win.
Bournemouth scored five tries to record a vital bonus-point win, and in truth the margin could have been greater had the home side taken some of several wasted opportunities.
Lions Director of Rugby David Dunn said: "We had several opportunities to score tries that we didn't take, and that goes with what's gone on in the last four or five weeks.
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"When you're winning by 50 points every week it's dead easy, but when you're losing games you've got to get back in the groove. Winning is a habit and hopefully we're going to re-establish it now in the next few weeks to come."
Ben Stevenson looked comfortable playing at full back, controlling the Bournemouth defence and making some key tackles.
Bournemouth opened the scoring after eight minutes when Ben Connolly breezed past two Southend players for the game's first try. Dan Pollard's conversion gave the Lions an early seven-point lead.
Southend immediately struck back, when Christopher Vaughan took advantage of some lapse Bournemouth defending. The Southend centre was eventually halted, but some patient build-up finally resulted in their first try of the game.
The Lions re-took the lead after 26 minutes after a well-worked move down the left wing found Scott Chislett in acres of space, and he ran in for a simple try.
Bournemouth continued to dominate the first period, as Southend struggled with line-outs and scrums. However, the Lions spurned several good opportunities to increase their lead - and were punished on the stroke of half time when Perry Sansom levelled the scores as Southend hit Bournemouth on the break once again.
The home side continued on the front foot in the second half. The breakthrough came three minutes after the interval when referee Paul Kimber awarded a penalty try, following an intentional knock-on by Southend - as they brought a dominant Bournemouth break down the wing to an abrupt end.
The visitors were struggling with Bournemouth's dominant pack, but a penalty kick cut the deficit to four points. However, five minutes later - Bournemouth gave themselves some breathing space when a driving maul allowed Chris Hughes to drive over the line for a decisive try.
Bournemouth's four tries had secured them a bonus point - but there was still time for Tommy Booth to cap an impressive display with a simple score to all but end the contest.
Ben Stevenson reverted to fly half in the closing stages as the Lions saw out the game to secure a much-needed win.
"I thought the back row were absolutely fantastic" added Dunn.
"Tommy Booth are Chris Hughes in particular carried and carried and carried all afternoon. We had a dominant scrum today which was fantastic for them because they've worked so hard over the previous weeks, and the half backs just kept control of the game really and didn't let them in so I'm delighted with the team performance today."