BRACKNELL RFC began their South West Premier campaign with a 31-21 home defeat to Weston-super-Mare – a result which extends their opening-day barren run to eight years.

The Lily Hill men kicked off playing towards the clubhouse and took the lead courtesy of a Vic Hardwicke penalty with only three minutes gone.

The Bracknell lead only lasted a matter of minutes, however, as a missed tackle allowed second row Thomas Sugg to gallop over the whitewash. The conversion was missed.

Weston-super-Mare enjoyed the majority of the territory and possession but were unable to break the Bracknell defensive line, and at the end of the first quarter, Chris Laidler intercepted a pass and showed the chasing defence a clean pair of heels to score with what was almost Bracknell’s first venture into their opponents' territory. Vic Hardwicke converted to make it 10-5.

Yet the away side hit back as fly-half Marcus Nel finished neatly dotted down after a spell of pressure on the Bracknell line.

This time the conversion from Kaidin Brocks was good, but there was still time on the clock for a Bracknell penalty from Vic Hardwicke, giving the hosts a 13-12 advantage at the break.

Five minutes into the second half a powerful drive from No. 8 Brad Talbot opened the scoring for WSM, but Bracknell responded with a break by the returning George Owen deep into the visitors' half, and the re-cycled ball found its way to Harry Challenor to crash over the line.

The hopes of an unlikely Bracknell come were dented by wing Alex Howman, who found space to score the visitors' bonus-point try and make it 24-18.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, Bracknell cut the lead to just three points with another Hardwicke penalty, but their hopes were finally crushed with a second Howman try.

Brocks added the extras to ensure the victory, with Bracknell hoping to bounce back and register a first win at Barnstaple on Saturday.