SALISBURY RFC were unable to finish the season on a high after losing to Bournemouth 80-14.

They were severely affected by injury, illness and unavailabilities at the end of a long, hard season.

The hosts strode into a 26-0 lead but the visitors were on the scoreboard when Dave Tonge chased the ball following a chip, which saw him cross the line for a score converted by Matty Loader.

Good running from Dan Hammond, Liam Gilbert and Paddy Dickson set up position for Tonge to find Loader who sprinted through a gap to touch down and add the conversion himself.

Rob Larcombe went off just before half time with a head injury which then saw Bournemouth stretch their lead to 31-14.

After the break it was one-way traffic, Blackborrow, Gill and Gary Williamson maintained parity in the tight, but further injuries saw back row forwards Gilbert and Bobby Saunders paired in the centre, which was not the ideal situation against the hosts’ razor-sharp back line.

Head coach Neil Loader spoke to JournalSport about his thoughts on the season. He said: “We have to go down and now regroup but we strive to be better and continually look for improvement by setting our standards high and holding each other accountable for them.

“The players have now had a taste of National Division rugby and want more. I believe as a group we are a team that could sustain National 3 with a bit more consistency and commitment but there are obvious areas to develop on. Our four focuses for pre-season – improve aerobic and aerobic fitness, improve our strength and power, improve our skill level and improve our athletic performance.

“We continually look to improve our support staff and the offer we have available for players at our club – we will be working with strength and conditioning coaches, athletic coaches, sports performance interns as well as our developing coaching staff.

“The aim for next season is to get in to the best position possible in order to get back to National 3.”

Salisbury United couldn’t sustain their first-half display away at Wimborne, tiring against much bigger opponents but scoring six times in a 53-36 loss.

A brace of tries for Peter MacLennan and Player of the Year Mike Dauwalder, one for Chris Miller and a penalty try.

Tom Buckingham completed the scoring with three conversions.