BRACKNELL RFC are still searching for their first win in South West Premier after a 23-30 defeat at Bournemouth.

The Lily Hill men were humbled 67-12 at home to early pacesetters Newton Abbot on the opening day.

And there was little for coach Dan Ap Dafydd to celebrate on Saturday after a narrow low loss in Dorset.

Bracknell, playing in their new kit for the first time and without a number of injured players, handed a debut to teenager Vic Hardwicke and second-row Ash Stevenson-Leigh.

Old rivals Bournemouth opened the scoring with a Grant Hancox penalty after Bracknell had lost Thomas Scott to the sin bin.

The hosts capitalised again when a break in midfield saw wing Dan Stewart cross the line for a converted score.

The visitors responded with their first points of the day thanks to a penalty from Hardwicke, who had missed an earlier one.

But Bournemouth extended their lead with a second try on the stroke of half time.

Second-row Jack Hennings broke through the Bracknell defence before sending Gareth Roberts over the whitewash, with Hancox’s conversion giving Bournemouth a 17-3 lead at the break.

But Bracknell were vastly improved in the second half following a dressing down from Ap Dafydd.

Their early pressure after the restart ended with a welcome try when Hardwicke made a telling break and found captain Michael Clarke before Harry Challenor nipped over from close quarters.

Hardwicke added to extras to leave Bracknell 17-10 down and then kicked another penalty for 17-13.

Hancox failed with a three-point attempt soon after but was successful with another as Bournemouth nudged 20-13 in front.

However, Ap Dafydd’s men were back on level terms when Nick Ovens crossed in the corner with six minutes to go, again Hardwicke slotting the conversion for 20-20.

With nerves creeping in, Hancox’s penalty attempt drifted wide, but the Bournemouth man made no mistake with a successful three-pointer with four minutes to go to put his side 23-20 ahead.

But when Bracknell earned the chance to tie the scores again in the final minute, Hardwicke’s effort from the tee sadly missed the target.

Ap Dafydd said: “I was really proud of the team, we recovered well in the second half and I thought we were a lot better.”

Bracknell face another stern test this Saturday when they host unbeaten Newbury Blues at Lily Hill Park (3pm ko).