BASINGSTOKE RFC director of rugby James Croker was left disappointed after watching his side lose 20-17 to Winchester in the Hampshire Cup on Saturday.

The hosts and county cup holders made eight changes to the team that had comprehensively beaten Beckenham in their previous league game, replacing most of the pack, including the entire front row.

However, it was a combination of complacency and naivety that proved to be their ultimate downfall, whilst the visitors were more astute with their tactical play.

Trailing 17-0 at half-time, ’Stoke were still very much in the game considering their home form in the league, but they could not put together sustained periods of pressure and a late try from Gavin Dampies flattered the scoreline.

Having reached the final 20 times in the last 25 years, the defeat was bitterly disappointing considering that Winchester play their rugby two leagues below ’Stoke.

Basingstoke director of rugby James Croker said: “It was not a question of them winning the game, it was more that we lost it. Missed tackles didn’t help us and nor did the amount of penalties we gave away.

“When we got in the strike zone we gave away too many turnovers and missed scoring chances. That was very disappointing and I hope the players are hurting as much as I am.”

See The Monday Gazette for a full report.