ROYAL Wootton Bassett failed to follow up a superb victory over Launceston as the Wiltshire side lost 47-5 away to Old Centralians in South West Premier last Saturday.

Facing one of the club’s oldest rivals - a meeting that goes back almost 50 years - Bassett were never at the races and deservedly lost heavily, making the club’s quest to stay in the top tier of south-western rugby an increasingly difficult one.

Playing in their changed red strip, Bassett kicked off down the slope but immediately conceded possession. Centralians went on the attack and Bassett were made to defend time and again in the early moments.

In the tenth minute a further attack on the Bassett line was forced over the line and under the posts as the hosts lead 7-0.

Bassett then had a rare foray into the Centralians half, but the forwards were held up in the corner and the hosts survived.

Centralians began to take the game to Bassett with sustained phases inside the visitors’ 22. That resulted in two tries in the 26th and 30th minutes, respectively, pushing the lead to 21-0.

On a day where nothing seemed to be going for Bassett, Alan Low’s men later lost influential prop forward Jake O’Neill courtesy of a shoulder injury.

Bassett trailed 21-0 at the interval and attempted to regroup for the second half. Unfortunately, they were reduced to 14 shortly after the restart when young flanker Josh McCafferty saw yellow for a high tackle.

Strangely, this seemed to inspire a huge Bassett effort, and for 10 minutes the league strugglers’ forwards took the game to Centralians up the hill.

Only last-ditch defence was preventing a try for the visitors. But eventually the pressure told when former Dorset & Wilts hooker Phil Bardwell bludgeoned his way over the line in the corner. The conversion was missed but the deficit was reduced to 21-5.

With McCafferty back on the field Bassett were still pressuring the Centralians defence, and for a brief while there was hope for the visiting supporters.

However, Centralians then wrapped up the bonus point when their hugely-impressive scrum-half made another great break setting up a try under the posts.

In the final moments of the game, Bassett’s earlier exertions began to show as the Gloucester side was able to run in three further tries to wrap up a comfortable win.

Elsewhere, in Southern Counties South, Swindon lost 22-16 away at Combe Down while Swindon College Old Boys beat Avonvale 22-12 on their travels.