WEYMOUTH & Portland regretted a slow start as Combe Down reeled off a 34-15 victory in the Counties One Tribute Southern South.

Rich Bament’s men were all at sea in the opening 15 minutes, giving up a 22-0 advantage as their Bath-based hosts scored four tries mostly from wide positions.

Only one was converted due to a bustling wind ripping across the ground, but the Seahorses eventually responded when Chris Norton powered his way over the line after a spell of pressure in Down’s 22.

However, there was still time in the opening half for Combe to claim their fifth score of the afternoon, taking a 27-5 advantage into the break.

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Weymouth & Portland improved in the second period but were punished for a mistake as Combe made it 34-5 with only their second converted score of the day.

Typically, the Seahorses did not lie down without a fight as Andy Bowditch crossed for the visitors’ second try, finishing off a rolling maul.

Billy Hayne then capitalised on forward pressure, launching a ‘pick and go’ move for the Seahorses’ third try, none of which were converted by James Baker amid the tricky conditions.

Searching for a bonus-point try, Weymouth & Portland were camped on the Down line in the dying seconds but could not force a way through as the Somerset side’s defence stood firm.

Speaking to Echosport, Bament said: “We gave them a 22-0 head start and I thought: ‘Oh dear me, this is going to be a long afternoon in Bath.’

“Then, we got ourselves back in to it. We turned around at half-time 27-5 down. Going up the slope, into the wind, it might be a hard second half.

“But the guys stuck with it. We just gave them too much, a bit weak and falling off too many tackles.

“They punished us, which I’ve got no arguments about. You can’t knock the spirit of the guys that came back and kept going until the death.

“We were unfortunate we didn’t get the bonus point because we were on their try line. So, disappointing but a good performance.

“They worked out some of our weaker defenders were out wide, and they targeted that.

“They were clever enough to work that out early doors. Once we problem-solved, which is always good when the guys problem-solve themselves, we shut that channel off.

“We had more than parity in the forwards and, in the end, we got on top. We started dominating.

“Unfortunately, just one of those days where we’ve got ourselves going and then a mistake crept in.”

Weymouth & Portland round off their season after Easter weekend, entertaining bottom side Avonvale on Saturday, April 6.