BRACKNELL RFC picked up two losing bonus-points as they went down 42-36 at Newton Abbot in their opening South West Premier game of the season on Saturday.

The home side took the lead early on courtesy of an unconverted Matt Jess try, but the Lily Hill men hit back when Lewis Franklin broke through and off-loaded to Vic Hardwicke to dot down. The wing added the conversion and Bracknell were 7-5 to the good.

A Newton Abbot penalty kicked by Rob Avery-Wright took them a point in front, but some slick handling between both forwards and backs allowed the visitors’ other wing, Ian Burch, to open his account for the season.

Avery-Wright added another penalty to again cut the gap, but just before the break Bracknell got their third try thanks to debutant Jason Henry which put them 17-11 up at half-time.

Daniel Ap Dafydd’s men moved further in front and picked up their try bonus-point early in the second half when Burch went over under the posts, and with Hardwicke adding the extras, Bracknell were 13 points clear.

However, Newton Abbot hit back quickly and a further two converted tries from Jess put them 25-24 in front.

The two sides traded converted tries – Jess grabbing his fourth for the hosts – before Bracknell were reduced to 14 men when Tom Scott was sent to the sin-bin.

Jess went over for a remarkable fifth try of the afternoon which Avery-Wright converted, and a Tom Putt penalty then made the score 42-31 to Newton Abbot.

The All Whites lost second row Ian Milton to the bin late on, and Bracknell capitalised to secure a losing bonus-point when another debutant, Rhys Verley, dotted down at the back of a powerful driving maul.

The result extends Bracknell’s unwanted record of not having won an opening game of the season since the 2013/14 season, and ap Dafydd said: “Before the start of the game if you had said we would have come away with two points I would have been pleased.

“But I feel we should have got more and it highlights we still have some hard work to do.”

Bracknell’s opening home game is against Old Patesians on Saturday (3pm).