BRACKNELL RFC produced a gutsy display but eventually lost their five-match unbeaten streak with a 23-19 defeat to champions-elect Dings Crusaders at Lily Hill Park.

On a wet afternoon, an early Ben Bolster penalty gave Dings the lead just after five minutes, and they moved further in front with an unconverted try from loose-head prop Ashley Challenger on the half-hour mark.

A second Bolster penalty and another Challenger try, this time converted, ensured the table-toppers took a commanding 18-0 lead into the break.

The second 40 minutes looked like being an uphill struggle for the home side as they spent the opening stages camped in their own half, and following a series of penalties conceded they lost substitute Chris Laidler to the sin-bin.

Dings took full advantage of their numerical superiority, finding space out wide for wing Matt Tovet to score their third try.

Despite losing Gabe Hills to injury, Bracknell hit back when his replacement Juite Tupua broke through the Dings defence to feed Cameron McDonald for Bracknell’s first try with 22 minutes of the second half gone.

Further Bracknell pressure in the Dings half allowed Simon Bayliss to add a second, the conversion cutting the gap to 23-12.

With the Lily Hill men finishing stronger, Tupua and Macdonald again combined effectively before the latter was the victim of a high tackle from which a penalty try was awarded.

Yet try as they might the hosts could not find a match-winning score, having to settle for a solitary losing bonus point.

Seventh-placed Bracknell have a week off before travelling to Exmouth – one spot above them in the table – on Saturday, February 17.